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B854 - Criminal Law (Court Procedure) Bill (Second Reading) watch

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    B854 - Criminal Law (Court Procedure) Bill (Second Reading), TSR Socialist Party



    Criminal Law (Court Procedure) Bill 2015

    A Bill to remove the requirement for juries to interpret the law

    BE IT ENACTED by The Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-

    1. Change in jury directions
    1. At the end of criminal trials with a jury, the judge(s) shall refrain from explaining the law to the jury asking them to return a verdict on this basis.
    2. Instead, the judge should ask a series of factual questions, the answers to which will provide the factual background against which the legal issues can be decided.
    3. Based on the facts found, the judge shall make the verdict.
    4. The ordinary jury procedures will apply for findings of fact; the judge should treat a non-positive finding for any essential factual element as introducing reasonable doubt.


    2. Change in procedure during trials

    Any points of law discussed in a jury trial should be done with the jury outside the room.

    3. Legal consequences of non-compliance
    1. Non-compliance with section 1 above shall result in a mistrial.
    2. Non-compliance with section 2 above may be a ground for a mistrial at the discretion of the appropriate appellate court, who should decide based on an assessment of whether, and to what extent the jury may have been affected by the non-compliance.


    4. Transitional provisions
    1. A Committee (the Jury Guidance Committee) shall be convened in order to compile guidance on appropriate jury directions in light of this Act.
    2. This Committee will consist of twenty members appointed by the Judicial Appointments Commission.
    3. These twenty members will be divided as follows: a) five justices of the Supreme Court or Law Lords, current or past; b) five Lords Justices, current or past; c) five Justices of the Crown Court; d) five criminal law academics.
    4. The Committee will initially be convened for a period of one year. This may be extended by order of the Secretary of State for Justice.
    5. Members of the Committee will receive compensation of £100,000 (one hundred thousand pounds).


    5. Commencement, Short Title and Extent
    1. This Act may be referred to as the Criminal Law Act 2015.
    2. This Act will extend to the United Kingdom; and;
    3. Sections 1-3 above will come into effect upon the expiry of the term detailed in section 4(4) above.




    Notes
    Approximate costings:
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    £2.5m - see s4(5). I believe this remuneration is necessary, as the highly skilled members of the Committee will be capable of earning at least similar amounts in their normal employment.


    Policy explanation:
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    Juries are notoriously bad at understanding the law (https://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads...r-research.pdf p35-7). By taking the responsibility for questions of law out of their hands and into the hands of the professional, this reduces the possibility of serious miscarriages of justice, and should reduce the court time and costs spent on appeals. It can also help to reduce the 'postcode lottery' element of criminal trials, and reduce the stigmatisation of certain offences.


    Changes for Second Reading
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    Introduced S4 in response to Actaeon's concerns during first reading.
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    I like this on first reading.
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    Aye, very good bill TheDefiniteArticle
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    Aye. Very good bill.
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    I see no fault with this, the cost is a tad high for my liking but I perfectly understand why it is
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    Question: what is the jury for, if they don't understand the law?

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    (Original post by Andy98)
    Question: what is the jury for, if they don't understand the law?

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    Juries are just normal people, innocent and pure, no corruption, no bias.
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    (Original post by James Milibanter)
    Juries are just normal people, innocent and pure, no corruption, no bias.
    Although I suspect it would be relatively easy for a powerful person to corrupt them....

    And they're the ones who decide whether the person is guilty or not?

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    Aye - A class bill if I may say so myself
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    Nay. A jury is the least corruptible method of vindication, and meddling with the jury system is something I won't be involved in.
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    Aye as before. Finally something questioning the poor competence of juries and addressing the issues.
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    (Original post by Andy98)
    Although I suspect it would be relatively easy for a powerful person to corrupt them....

    And they're the ones who decide whether the person is guilty or not?

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    You might think so, but I somewhat doubt it.

    Yes, usually what happens is they have the law explained to them and they use the evidence to decide whether or not the person is guilty or not. This bill would mean that rather than having the law explained, the judge will give the juries questions about the case and based on those questions they'll decide whether or not the person is guilty.
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    (Original post by Wellzi)
    Nay. A jury is the least corruptible method of vindication, and meddling with the jury system is something I won't be involved in.
    Life peer addresses this well.

    (Original post by Life_peer)
    Aye as before. Finally something questioning the poor competence of juries and addressing the issues.
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    (Original post by James Milibanter)
    You might think so, but I somewhat doubt it.

    Yes, usually what happens is they have the law explained to them and they use the evidence to decide whether or not the person is guilty or not. This bill would mean that rather than having the law explained, the judge will give the juries questions about the case and based on those questions they'll decide whether or not the person is guilty.
    Surely, as the evidence is not provided by the jury this renders them useless anyway.

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    (Original post by Andy98)
    Surely, as the evidence is not provided by the jury this renders them useless anyway.

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    The evidence comes from both the prosecution and the defence. It's the Juries job to evaluate the evidence and use it in accordance with the law to determine whether the defendant is guilty or not. The judge passes the sentence.
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    (Original post by James Milibanter)
    The evidence comes from both the prosecution and the defence. It's the Juries job to evaluate the evidence and use it in accordance with the law to determine whether the defendant is guilty or not. The judge passes the sentence.
    Right. So the jury just decides whether the defendant is lying and the evidence against them is damning. This could be done by anyone.

    Still, the system we have isn't perfect but I don't see what improvement this might bring.

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    (Original post by Andy98)
    This could be done by anyone.
    Genuinely the entire point :rofl:
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    (Original post by James Milibanter)
    Genuinely the entire point :rofl:
    Right

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    (Original post by James Milibanter)
    Juries are just normal people, innocent and pure, no corruption, no bias.
    You think the average person is pure an innocent, how naïve do you get?!

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    Happy to answer any questions.
 
 
 
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