Jury Empanelment

One important aspect of jury trials is that they allow citizens to take direct part in our justice system. Consequently, the processes by which juries are empaneled, especially how and which people are included or excluded, is crucial to both community participation and ensuring a fair trial.    

In March 2013 the Commission was asked to review three aspects of jury empanelment for both criminal and civil trials:

  • Whether jurors should be identified in court by name or number 
  • Peremptory challenges (and the Crown right to stand aside in criminal trials)
  • The balloting off of additional jurors.
  • In particular, the terms of reference asked the Commission to consider the effect of these processes on jurors.

Following a consultation paper in October 2013 the Commission received 18 public submissions. In addition, a juror survey produced 381 responses.

The jury empanelment report, tabled in Parliament on 3 September 2014, made 16 recommendations to improve the way juries are selected and how additional jurors empanelled for long trials should be managed.

The key recommendations include:

  • To identify jurors by number in court in all criminal and civil cases
  • To retain but reduce the number of peremptory challenges available to parties in order to minimise the opportunity to skew the representativeness of the jury
  • To abolish balloting off
  • To abolish the requirement for jury members to parade in front of the accused.

See below for links to the report, consultation paper and other documents.

Implementation

The Jury Directions and Other Acts Amendment Act 2017 received royal assent on 29 August 2017. It includes an amendment of the Juries Act 2000 to the effect that it is no longer necessary for jurors to 'parade'  in front of an accused during the empanelment process.   

The Justice Legislation Amendment (Court Security, Juries and Other Matters) Act 2017 received royal assent on 29 August 2017.  This Act amends the Juries Act 2000 to reduce the number of peremptory challenges to prospective jurors in criminal and civil trials.

 

Timeline

Current: Table in parliament

Full timeline:

Reference
Consultation
Submissions
Final report
Tabled in parliament
View full timeline

Project Publications

Jury Empanelment Report (pdf)

Tabled in the Victorian Parliament on 3 September 2014, the Commission's final report on jury empanelment contained a 16 recomendations in three...

Read more here

Jury Empanelment Report (html)

Tabled in the Victorian Parliament on 3 September 2014, the Commission's final report on jury empanelment contained a 16 recomendations in three...

Read more here

Jury empanelment: received submissions

The Commission received 18 written submissions to its review of Jury Empanelment and those below are published with the permission of those who...

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Jury empanelment consultation paper (pdf)

In October 2013, following preliminary research and consultation, the Commission produced a consultation paper on three aspects of the jury...

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Jury empanelment - consultation paper (html)

In October 2013, following preliminary research and consultation, the Commission produced a consultation paper on three aspects of the jury...

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Jury Empanelment: Terms of Reference

In February 2013, the Attorney-General asked the Commission to review and report on aspects of jury empanelment in Victoria under the following terms...

Read more here

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