Jury trials are a fundamental component of many legal systems around the world, including the United States and England. However, the way in which jury trials are conducted can differ significantly between these two countries. In this blog post, we will explore some of the key differences between jury trials in the US and England.
Composition of the Jury
One of the most significant differences between jury trials in the US and England is the composition of the jury. In the US, a jury is typically made up of 12 individuals who are selected from the local community. In England, however, a jury is composed of 12 individuals who are chosen at random from the population by the court service.
Role of the Jury
In both the US and England, the role of the jury is to decide whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. However, the way in which the jury reaches this decision can differ between the two countries. In the US, the jury must reach a unanimous verdict, which means that all 12 jurors must agree on the defendant's guilt or innocence. In England, a majority verdict is acceptable, which means that a verdict can be reached if 10 out of 12 jurors agree on the defendant's guilt or innocence.
The process of selecting a jury can also differ between the US and England. In the US, the process of voir dire is used to select jurors. During voir dire, potential jurors are questioned by both the prosecution and the defense to determine their suitability for the case. In England, the selection process is much simpler. Potential jurors are randomly selected and are not subjected to questioning by either the prosecution or the defense.
Finally, peremptory challenges are another area where the US and England differ in their approach to jury trials. In the US, both the prosecution and the defense are allowed a certain number of peremptory challenges, which means that they can dismiss potential jurors without giving a reason. In England, peremptory challenges are not allowed, and potential jurors can only be dismissed for cause.
Role of the Judge
Another key difference between jury trials in the US and England is the role of the judge. In the US, the judge plays an active role in the trial, making decisions on issues such as the admissibility of evidence and instructing the jury on the law. In England, the judge has a more limited role and is responsible for ensuring that the trial is conducted fairly.
In conclusion, while both the US and England rely on jury trials to decide criminal cases, the way in which these trials are conducted can differ significantly between the two countries. From the composition of the jury to the role of the judge, there are a number of key differences that reflect the different legal systems in each country. Understanding these differences is important for anyone involved in criminal law in either the US or England.