Sunday, 8 September 2013

Upper age limit for jurors is amended

jury selectionFrom Gov.uk 20/08/13:

People up to the age of 75 will soon be able to sit as jurors in England and Wales under plans announced by Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green today.

The proposal is part of a drive by the Ministry of Justice to make the criminal justice system more inclusive and to reflect modern society by giving people aged 70 to 75 the opportunity to serve on a jury.

Currently, only people aged between 18 and 70 are eligible to sit as jurors.

I find the jury selection process absolutely fascinating.

Anecdotally, you hear of large swathes of potential jurors who are ready, willing and able and yet never get a look in. Others, rather strangely, get called up more than once.

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 introduced a raft of sweeping changes in which previous exceptions to serving on a jury (including those relating to judges, practising lawyers and law graduates) were removed. That resulted in a much larger pool of jurors than was previously available.

The government have been keen to stress that this most recent change is more about amending the law so it reflects increased life expectancy and is not discriminatory against older potential jurors.

Still, it seems a bit harsh to make a 75 year old sit through a painfully slow and dreary trial.

We can’t be that short of potential jurors, can we?

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