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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200825 Find in a Library
Title: Jury Trial in Republic of Ireland
Journal: International Review of Penal Law  Volume:72  Issue:1-2  Dated:2001  Pages:197-214
Author(s): Katie Quinn
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 18
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: France
Annotation: This article discusses the use of lay adjudication in the Republic of Ireland.
Abstract: The use of a jury of 12 lay persons for the trial of most non-minor criminal offenses represents the only lay input into the criminal process. The origins of jury trial share much in common with those of England and Wales. The English common law tradition gradually supplanted the native custom-based system of Breton law. Jury trial in Ireland has often had to operate in a turbulent society. In times of unrest jury trial was suspended altogether for specified periods for certain offenses and in particular locations with the substitution of a variety of special courts. The exceptions to jury trials today are summary trial for minor offenses, trial by special courts, and trial by military tribunals. The eligibility and selection of jurors today are governed by the Juries Act 1976. The Act states that every citizen between 18 years of age and 70 and entered on the register of electors in a jury district is eligible for jury service. The right of peremptory challenge still exists as well as the right of challenge for cause. Potential jurors may not be questioned by the parties to the proceedings before challenges are made. For a variety of reasons, jury trial has not proved well suited to Irish circumstances. Jury intimidation and prejudice, distrust in the state, considerable community segregation, and the small and largely rural nature of the jurisdictions have combined to ensure that jury trial is not as entrenched in Irish legal culture as it is in England and Wales. Although a great number of these obstacles have abated, jury trial has failed to flourish. An attraction of jury trial is that it acts as a link between the community of professional participants that operate within the criminal justice system and the community outside. The future of the jury system is poor unless greater steps are taken to build confidence in its ability to render verdicts that are just and reliable and to attune it more to the needs of the modern criminal justice system. 72 footnotes
Main Term(s): Ireland; Juries
Index Term(s): Court management; Foreign courts; Jury selection; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Rights of the accused; Trial procedures
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