Jury trials lie at the centre of our criminal justice system, being an important way for citizens to participate in the governance of our society. But there was concern that the law in this area was too complex, causing miscommunication between judges and juries. Frequently judges’ directions to juries were found to be too technical, unclear or unhelpful.
In January 2008, the Attorney-General asked the Victorian Law Reform Commission to review and recommend changes to simplify, shorten or improve the directions given by judges to juries in criminal trials.
The Commission released a consultation paper in September 2008 and this background paper in December 2008.