In March 2013 the Commission was asked to review three aspects of jury empanelment for both criminal and civil trials:
- Whether jurors should be identified in court by name or number
- Peremptory challenges (and the Crown right to stand aside in criminal trials)
- The balloting off of additional jurors.
The terms of reference asked the Commission to consider in particular the effect of these processes on jurors.
The Commission released a consultation paper in October 2013. There were 18 submissions to the review. In addition, there were 381 responses to a juror survey.
The jury empanelment report was tabled in Parliament on 3 September 2014. The Commission made 16 recommendations to improve the way in which juries are selected in court and how additional jurors empanelled for long trials should be managed.
The key recommendations include:
- To identify jurors by number in court in all criminal and civil cases
- To retain but reduce the number of peremptory challenges available to parties in order to minimise the opportunity to skew the representativeness of the jury
- To abolish balloting off
- To abolish the requirement for jury members to parade in front of the accused.
See below for links to the report, consultation paper and other documents.
The Jury Directions and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2017, introduced into Parliament on 21 February 2017, clarifies that jury parades are not an essential part of the jury empanelment process. The Commission recommended abolishing parades in its 2014 report on jury empanelment. The Commission's view was that parades are "unnecessarily intimidating" and provoke strongly negative reactions from some jurors.