The jury, a group of laypersons who decide legal cases, is an important component of the legal systems of many nations, especially common law countries, including the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Africa and Latin America that were once colonies of the British Empire. In addition, new jury systems have recently been introduced in Russia and Spain and are being considered in other jurisdictions.

The Jury's Role and Functions

Lay participation in legal decision making serves multiple purposes. Because lay juries represent the community, the jury as an institution injects community views into the law, so that legal outcomes are more consistent with prevailing values. Supporters of the jury say that it increases the soundness of legal ...

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