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Practices, policies and procedures that influence juror satisfaction in Australia

Research and public policy series no. 87

Jane Goodman-Delahunty, Neil Brewer, Jonathan Clough, Jacqueline Horan, James RP Ogloff, David Tait and Jessica Pratley
ISBN 978 1 921185 67 0 ISSN 1326-6004
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, June 2009

Abstract

In 2005, the Criminology Research Council commissioned a study of practices, policies and procedures affecting juror satisfaction in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. The study sought the views of the community, relevant stakeholders and jurors themselves on a variety of factors they may contribute to jury satisfaction, namely communications with jurors prior to empanelment, court facilities and amenities, incidents and conditions of jury service, and the perceived fairness of jury procedures. Specific aims of the research were to: summarise policies, legislation and practices regarding the management of jurors in the three participating jurisdictions; evaluate the relationship between juror management policies and effectiveness, and sources of juror satisfaction and dissatisfaction in each state; examine perceptions and knowledge of prospective and empanelled jurors regarding jury duty to identify any barrier to jury participation and education needs; and identify policy implications flowing from the findings to develop optimal procedures for managing jurors in Australia. The report highlights a range of issues regarding the jury system and processes, from community perceptions and juror information through to management of jurors during and after trials. Barriers to jury service, such as lack of accurate information about and confidence in the jury system affect participation rates. Satisfaction of jurors was dependent on personal comfort within the physical environment, wellbeing, clarity about the information presented and jury procedures, remuneration and job protection. Recommendations for improving policies and procedures include further research on protecting jurors' employment, improving delivery of clear evidence, assessing the psychological impact of cases on jurors, tools to streamline deliberations and the level of jurors' political trust and confidence in the jury system. Policies could be developed further to address community-based education programs that encourage wider community participation in jury duty, improve jury representativeness and remuneration, increase orientation information and improve communication to jurors.

This paper is taken from the report of research commissioned by the Criminology Research Council .

Criminology Research Council