Juries

Juries: A Hong Kong Perspective

Peter Duff
Mark Findlay
Carla Howarth
Chan Tsang-fai
Copyright Date: 1992
Pages: 184
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2jc05n
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  • Book Info
    Juries
    Book Description:

    This book is based on the findings of a research on the jury system in HK. The issues addressed include: the comprehension of HK jury, its representativeness, and the political significance of its existence (especially in the light of 1997). The research itself is unique in that judiciaries around the world tend to maintain a wall of secrecy around the operations of the jury. Suitable for law and criminology courses.

    eISBN: 978-988-220-190-3
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
    The Jury Project Research Team
  4. FOREWORD
    (pp. ix-x)
    Derek Roebuck

    The publication of the results of the Jury Project, the first research effort of the City Polytechnic of Hong Kong’s new law school, is remarkable for more than its timeliness, value to the community and high scholarly standards. It is a tribute to its authors for another reason. Their integrity overcame negative forces which would have inhibited – probably overwhelmed – less dedicated and determined scholars. It may seem strange that research of this kind could be done successfully in Hong Kong, when it has become impossible in more open societies. If the true reasons for its success are to...

  5. PREFACE
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Michael McConville
  6. 1 INTRODUCTION: THE RATIONALE FOR JURY RESEARCH
    (pp. 1-10)

    While there now exists a considerable body of research regarding trial by jury in criminal cases, much of it is concerned with particular aspects of the jury, for example, the ability of the jury to cope with cases of complex commercial crime, the effect of the use of the peremptory challenge upon the jury’s verdict, or a comparison between the verdict reached by the jury and the opinion of the judge. There is little wrong with this type of research. It can be be of great value, but there is an obvious danger of such limited exercises providing only partial...

  7. 2 METHODOLOGY AND THE POLITICS OF JURY RESEARCH
    (pp. 11-36)

    The aims of the research were several, but all were inextricably interlinked. First, we wished to discover the extent to which jurors in Hong Kong understand the trial process. Obviously, this aim was formulated in view of the debate taking place over the jury’s ability to comprehend the trials of complex commercial crime. Second, we tried to identify factors which help or hinder juror comprehension, particularly in cases involving complex commercial crime. Originally, these were the main aims of the research.

    A third aim eventually developed: to assess the significance of the jury in Hong Kong. This involved examining the...

  8. 3 THE HONG KONG JURY UNDER ATTACK
    (pp. 37-52)

    This chapter has a dual purpose. First, it is intended simply to provide a brief description of the way in which the Hong Kong jury has evolved and now operates. The Hong Kong jury is an oddity. Like most of the legal institutions and laws of Hong Kong, it was imported to the colony from England, the colonizing power. Indeed, the English law concerning juries and jurors still applies to Hong Kong in so far as it does not conflict with the provisions made for the jurisdiction by the Jury Ordinance.

    The second purpose of the chapter is to describe...

  9. 4 A MICROCOSM OF SOCIETY?
    (pp. 53-60)

    In this chapter, our intention is to discuss the first part of the process through which the Hong Kong jury is manufactured. The rules as to eligibility for jury service are primarily contained in the Jury Ordinance and these will be explained in detail. First, we will outline the various exemptions from jury service. Then we will describe how the List of Common Jurors is drawn up, paying particular attention to the way in which this entire process is designed to implement the qualification that jurors must speak English in order to be eligible for jury service. Finally, some of...

  10. 5 THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE JURY
    (pp. 61-68)

    In this chapter, we discuss the way in which the jury is assembled for any particular trial. First, the process of summoning a panel of potential jurors to court is described. Next, the rights of the Crown and the defence to challenge potential jurors are outlined. In this section, we also discuss the views of judges and barristers about the process of assembling a jury and, in particular, their opinions about the legitimacy of the right of challenge. Finally, we describe the way in which, in practice, juries are constructed at court, drawing upon data from our own observations.

    When...

  11. 6 COMPREHENSION: DO JURORS UNDERSTAND?
    (pp. 69-86)

    As we saw in Chapter 1, one of the major criticisms levelled against the jury has been its alleged inability to understand fully the various aspects of the trial. In particular, in Hong Kong (as elsewhere), there has been concern that cases involving complex commercial crimes are beyond the intellectual capabilities of most jurors. In Chapter 3, we examined this debate and noted that it was fuelled by conjecture, opinion and anecdote rather than proceeding on the basis of empirical evidence. Thus, one of the aims of our research was to attempt to provide some such evidence. In this chapter,...

  12. 7 THE VERDICT
    (pp. 87-102)

    This chapter is concerned with the verdict of the jury. First, the process through which the verdict is reached is discussed. The principal source of data is the comments of jurors about the way in which they reached the verdict. Although the questions we were able to ask jurors were limited by possible legislative restrictions (see Chapter 2), some interesting insights were provided by our respondents. Next, we shall consider briefly the relationships between the jurors’ comprehension of the trial and the verdict, and between the length of the trial and the verdict. Then, the opinions of barristers and judges...

  13. 8 THE WIDER ROLE OF THE JURY
    (pp. 103-114)

    In Chapter 3, we established that the jury is involved in only a tiny proportion of criminal cases and, in Chapter 7, we saw that, even in the very limited number of cases where it sits, the presence of the jury does not appear to alter the pattern of decision making. This supports the argument that the jury is important for its symbolic and political role rather than what it achieves in practice. In this chapter, we describe people’s perceptions about the wider role of the jury in Hong Kong.

    First, we examine the way in which the broader role...

  14. 9 THE JURY IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
    (pp. 115-128)

    The research which we have described in the preceding chapters examines various aspects and perceptions of the somewhat peculiar jury system in Hong Kong. We have attempted to consider the function of the jury both in practice and in ideological terms. As we noted in Chapter 1, it is often claimed that the jury stands as an embodiment of a lay perspective on justice and an authentic representative of the people, thus reflecting community sensibilities and assuring the criminal justice process of some democratic legitimacy (see Brown and Neal, 1988). To measure the Hong Kong jury against this type of...

  15. Appendices
    (pp. 129-162)
  16. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 163-166)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 167-169)