Inclusive Juries – Access for People who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Blind or Have Low Vision
Tabled in Parliament Date:
The Commission considered how to make juries more inclusive by changing legislation and practices to enhance access for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have low vision who wish to serve as jurors in Victoria. The report was delivered on 30 July 2022 and published on 16 May 2023.
The report recommends changes to the law and practice to enable people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have low vision to serve on juries.
Currently two main barriers prevent people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have low vision from serving on juries. The law does not require courts or the Juries Commissioner to provide adjustments such as Auslan interpreters, speech-to-text translators and screen readers. Jury service might be accessible with adjustments but they are generally not provided. And an old common law rule called ‘the 13th person rule’ prevents anyone except a juror, including an Auslan interpreter or support person, from being present in the jury room.
The VLRC has called for changes to the Juries Act, so that people get the reasonable adjustments they need to be able to serve. It also recommends changing the 13th person rule so that interpreters and support persons can go into the jury room, if they take an oath to maintain confidentiality, not participate in or disclose deliberations and to interpret truthfully.
Watch the video below for the executive summary of the report in Auslan with subtitles.
VCE legal studies students wanting to learn about this inquiry, go to our Case studies page.
Find out about implementation of VLRC recommendations.
- Terms of reference received
- Submissions and consultations
- Submissions closed
- Final Report
- Tabled in parliament