Inclusive Juries—Access for People Who Are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Blind or Have Low Vision: Report (html)



A person charged with a crime is called an accused in the Supreme and County Courts.


A secular verbal, solemn and formal declaration that can be made rather than taking an oath.

Audio description

A form of narration used to provide information about visual images for people who are blind or have low vision.

Auslan (Australian Sign Language)

A language developed by, and for, Australians who are deaf or hard of hearing. It is composed of precise hand shapes, facial expressions, and body movements, with its own syntax and grammar.[1]

Auslan interpreter

An interpreter who translates spoken and written English into Auslan and vice versa. They abide by a strict code of ethics and are obliged to respect confidentiality.

Ballot/random ballot

The random selection of prospective jurors by drawing cards out of a box. Prospective jurors are usually identified by number.


A form of written language for people who are blind, characterised by raised dots that can be felt with the fingertips.


A judge’s official office, often staffed by people assisting the judge, including the Judge’s Associate.

Crown prosecutor

A representative of the Victorian or Director of Public Prosecutions (Cth) responsible for prosecuting indictable offences.

Demeanour evidence

The outward physical behaviour and appearance of a defendant or witness. Demeanour is not merely what someone says but the way it is said. Factors that contribute to an individual’s demeanour include tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures, and carriage.

Disability awareness training

Training that seeks to challenge ingrained cultural and attitudinal barriers which perpetuate discrimination, and to provide participants with a general overview of the legislative framework that supports the inclusion of people with disability in Australia.[2]

Discharge a juror

To release a juror from the jury after the jury has been sworn in.

Discharge of jury summons

To release a juror from their obligation to attend court in response to a summons.


A reason for not being able to attend for jury service or to sit on the jury for a particular trial.


A foreperson is selected by the jury to communicate between the jury and the judge and to announce the verdict.

Hearing loop

Sound technology that produces a magnetic wireless signal which is picked up by a hearing aid to deliver sound without background noise and distortion directly to a person’s ears. It is commonly used in public premises and buildings to assist people who are hard of hearing.


Without bias or prejudice.

Judge’s Associate

A person employed to assist the judge in court and in chambers on legal matters and with case management, by acting as an intermediary between parties and the judge.

Juries Victoria

The organisation responsible for jury administration in Victoria.


A member of the jury.


A group of people from the community, selected as jurors to deliver verdicts. The jury is randomly selected from the jury panel.

Jury empanelment

The process of selecting the jury for a trial from the pool of persons summonsed for jury duty.


A person appointed by the court to accompany jurors where it is necessary to prevent people having access to the jurors or the jurors having access to others. The jurykeeper’s role is to ensure there is no attempt to influence jury deliberations. They must take an oath or make an affirmation to uphold their responsibilities.

Jury deliberations

The process by which jurors discuss the case to arrive at a verdict in a trial.

Jury directions

Instructions provided by the judge to the jury about the legal principles which the jury is obliged to apply. These directions guide the conduct of jurors in reaching a verdict.

Jury panel

The small group of people randomly chosen from the jury pool from which a jury is selected.

Jury pool

The collective name for everybody attending the court for jury service on a given day.

Jury Summons

An official notification from Juries Victoria stating that a person is required to attend a specific court on a specific date to undertake jury service.


A verbal promise to tell the truth, usually made while holding a religious text (though this is not a necessity).


A direction by a court or tribunal that is final and binding unless overturned on appeal.

Peremptory challenge

A challenge made by a party to a prospective juror to exclude them from the jury. A party is not required to provide reasons for making a peremptory challenge.

Procedural fairness

The requirement that legal proceedings are conducted in a fair manner. Procedural fairness requires that parties have the opportunity to be heard before a competent tribunal and have their disputes determined by an impartial decision maker.

Prospective juror/potential juror

A person who has been summonsed to attend for jury service, but not yet selected for a jury.

Reasonable adjustments

In this report, this term means reasonable modifications employed to facilitate jury service by persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or who have low vision. An example might be an Auslan interpreter, a disability aid, or changes to the way a courtroom is organised. See Chapter 13.

Stand aside

A challenge made by the Crown to exclude a prospective juror from the jury. No reasons for making this challenge need to be provided.

Subject groups

In this report, the Commission refers to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have low vision as people in the ‘subject groups’.

Thirteenth person rule

The common law rule that only jurors (usually 12) may be present in a jury deliberation (in the jury room). A non-juror or ‘13th person’ is not permitted in the jury room. This rule was re-affirmed by the High Court in 2016.[3] This rule is intended to keep the jury separate to preserve the confidentiality of the deliberation process.


An assistant to a judge, who conducts some of the formal court processes and looks after the jury during the trial. A tipstaff can be sworn in as a jury keeper.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its Optional Protocol (A/RES/61/106) was adopted on 13 December 2006 and entered into force on 3 May 2008. Ratified in Australia in July 2008, the CRPD sets out obligations for equality and non-discrimination, accessibility, and the right to live independently and be included in the community.

  1. Judicial College of Victoria, Disability Access Bench Book (Online Manual, 2016) 10, Glossary <>.

  2. ‘Introduction to Disability Awareness’, Disability Awareness (Web Page) <>.

  3. Lyons v State of Queensland [2016] HCA 38, [33]; 259 CLR 518.