Annex C Pro-forma for responding to questions
RESPONDENT INFORMATION FORM:
THE MODERN SCOTTISH JURY IN CRIMINAL TRIALS
Please complete the details below and return it with your response. This will help ensure we handle your response appropriately. Thank you for your help.
1. Do you agree that persons aged 65-70 should no longer be debarred from jury service on grounds of age?
2. What restrictions, if any, should there be on eligibility to serve on a jury; and how should these restrictions be administered?
3. Should persons in any particular occupations routinely be excused jury service in virtue of that occupation?
4. If so, which occupations should enjoy this concession?
5. If not, what should be the criteria for determining applications by individuals for excusal from jury service?
Note: the focus in this section is on occupation-related excusal. Sheriff Clerks have discretion to excuse those cited for service on compassionate grounds such as ill-health, pressing carer responsibilities, or bereavement. The Government does not propose to alter or in any way restrict the exercise of this discretion.
6. Do you agree with the proposal to reduce the period of entitlement to excusal as of right from 5 to 2 years for those individuals who, following citation, attend at court but are not selected by ballot to serve on a jury?
7. Do you agree that Section 84(4) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 be amended to allow for the pool of jurors to be selected from those either within the Sheriff Court district or the Sheriffdom as a whole?
8. What are the benefits and drawbacks of a system such as the one adopted in Ireland which transfers the cost of jury service to employers and lifts the burden of service from the self-employed where their livelihoods can be shown to be at risk? Is such a system likely in your view to serve the interests of the economy and of justice?
9. If a choice had to be made, on grounds of affordability, between granting earlier access to the longer trials rate and boosting that rate, which of these - less compensation but earlier, or higher compensation but later - do you think is more important?
10. Should those few jurors who serve on the very longest trials receive enhanced compensation for losses incurred (bearing in mind that this would inevitably depress to some extent the resources available for the generality of jurors)?
11. Do you agree that the introduction of a adult dependant carer allowance would be a valuable addition to the suite of juror allowances? Are there any other allowances for regular expenses that you think should be considered (nb childcare expenses - both pre-school and out of school - are already reimbursed).
12. Do you think the number of jurors in criminal trials in Scotland should be reduced? Please explain why you think it should or should not.
13. If it were reduced, to what number should it be reduced and what number of votes should be required to reach a verdict?
14. Should there be a minimum jury quorum required, below which a trial should be discontinued? If so, what should that number be and would it be affected by a reduction in jury size?
15. If there is a quorum, what should be the effect of the number of jurors falling below that quorum? Are there any circumstances in which the court should allow such a trial to continue, and, if so, what? How can the court satisfy itself that the interests of justice are well served?
16. Do you agree that juries should continue to be used even in lengthy criminal trials, regardless of the type of crime?
17. If you do not agree, what alternatives would you propose? How would those alternatives reconcile the interests of justice with the practical considerations that we have outlined?
18. If you agree, should substitute jurors be considered and, if so, in what circumstances? How many should there be and what model should they follow?
19. Are there any circumstances in which the court should allow a trial to continue despite the jury falling below the quorum? What are they? Should the exercise of such a discretion be linked to trials of a particular length?
20. Moreover, how can the court satisfy itself that the interests of justice are well served?
The consultation will run from 18 September to 11 December 2008. Please send your responses to:The Modern Scottish Jury in Criminal Trials
Criminal Procedure Division
Criminal Justice Directorate
Tel: 0131 244 2103
Fax: 0131 244 2623
OR email your response to us at: Email: email@example.com
For additional hard copies of the consultation paper and response proforma please contact us at the above address. Electronic copies of these documents are also available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/consultations
All responses, other than those where the respondent specifically asks for confidentiality, will be available for public inspection. Respondents are asked to clarify on their response form whether or not they wish their response to remain confidential. An independent analysis of responses will be commissioned and the report of that analysis will also be published on the Scottish Government website.