Jury duties and new technologies

The way jurors perform their function have not changed for centuries. They sit down, listen, no notes can be taken most of the time, and after a few days or a few months of trial, decide on the case. In a world where writing is now key, where aural transmission of culture and knowledge is inexistent (without images/video, I mean), Lord Judge of Draycote’s comments is certainly a viable and valuable one. Yes, childrend and young adults cannot sit anymore to just listen and do nothing else. I would certainly not dismissed its comments on how this inability to listen can affect criminal trials. Now should we change the way a jury trial is conducted?
The fact of listening with no writing is an intrinsic part of an adversarial trial; it is viewed as being the only way to arrive to a fair decision. Introducing writing would certainly modify the process of reaching a decision. But that does not mean the adversarial trial would sell its soul to the devil. Financial trials (complex frauds) are actually hindered by this traditional process and a fair decision cannot be reached. So time for a change? Work from criminologists and linguistics could help understand the impact writing could have.
Web-savvy young make bad jurors because they cannot listen, says Lord Chief Justice” (7 November 2008) and TechDirt on the same day

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About Audrey Guinchard

Senior Lecturer @ University of Essex (UK)
This entry was posted in Trial - Jury. Bookmark the permalink.

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