find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Judges, lawyers to do jury duty

Judges, lawyers to do jury duty

Victorian lawyers, judges and politicians could soon be expected to attend jury service. _x000D_

Victorian lawyers, judges and politicians could soon be expected to attend jury service along with the rest of the community. 

Deputy premier and attorney-general, Rob Hulls, said the Victorian Government was preparing a discussion paper on broadening the jury pool, to be released before the end of the year. 

“At the moment, a range of occupations are excluded from serving on juries, including judges, police officers, lawyers, bail justices, court reporters, office holders such as the auditor-general and ombudsman and members of parliament,” Hulls said. 

“There is an argument that some of these professions could be considered eligible for jury duty to ensure our juries are as broadly representative as possible.”

The comments come on the eve of the release of the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s (VLRC) final report on jury directions. 

Hulls said the VLRC’s report found that both judges and lawyers recognised the need for an overhaul of jury directions law.

 “A jury’s understanding of the law applicable to the criminal case before them rests solely on the directions of the presiding trial judge,” he said.

“These directions are crucial for juries in reaching fair and just verdicts, but it’s clear that jury directions in Victoria are too complex and lengthy. Charges to juries can sometimes last days, and jurors are less likely to reach fair outcomes if they cannot follow judges’ directions. 

“Having developed in a piecemeal fashion over time, the law governing jury directions now has too many technical requirements which judges must comply with, making the job of both the judges and the juries very difficult.”

The report includes 52 recommendations relating to jury directions, with the aim of reducing court delays and the number of appeals.

“Victims of crime can be further traumatised by court retrials and it is important we reduce court delays and appeals to reduce unnecessary hardship for victims,” said Hulls. 

Some of the key recommendations included that the law concerning jury directions in criminal trials should be located in a single statute. It said legislation should be introduced over time and replace the common law, and it should contain revised versions of all existing Victorian statutory provisions. Legislation should clearly indicate those directions that are mandatory and those which are discretionary, and the trial judge must give a discretionary direction that has been requested by counsel for the accused unless satisfied that there is good reason not to do so, say the recommendations. 

The legislation should also declare that the trial judge has an obligation to give the jury any direction that is necessary to ensure a fair trial, according to the recommendations. 

Hulls said the VLRC recommendations would be considered as part of the Government’s review of Victoria’s principal criminal laws.



Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Judges, lawyers to do jury duty
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...