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Juror satisfaction can influence community confidence in criminal justice system, says latest AIC report

Media Release

01 May 2008

Juror satisfaction with the jury experience, including with the physical environment and remuneration, can affect ongoing juror involvement in the criminal justice system and community confidence in it, according to a new report released by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) today.

The Practices, policies and procedures that influence juror satisfaction in Australia report and its related summary paper, Factors affecting juror satisfaction and confidence in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, both funded by the Criminology Research Council, examine factors affecting juror satisfaction.

"Although jury trials account for only a small proportion of criminal matters, juries help to promote fairness within the criminal justice system and are an integral part of the administration of justice," said Dr Toni Makkai, Director of the AIC. "Juror satisfaction is an important element to explore, as dissatisfied jurors may share their views with others and influence other citizens' willingness to participate in jury service."

The reports highlight a range of issues regarding the jury system and processes. These include community perceptions, juror information and jury management during and after trials. Jury satisfaction was strongly influenced by personal comfort with the physical environment, clarity of information presented and jury procedures, as well as remuneration and job protection. Dissatisfaction with remuneration emerged as a significant barrier to jury participation and therefore the representativeness of juries.

"These findings have practical implications for policymakers and administrators," said Dr Makkai. "Improving juror satisfaction has broader implications than just the comfort of individual jurors: it may help jurors feel valued rather than inconvenienced and demonstrates recognition for the important role of jurors in the criminal justice system".

AIC media contact: Barbara Walsh, Tel: 02.6260 9244; m: 0409 985 600