Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Jury's Still Out

The workings (or failings) of the jury system have been in the news recently, and I'd be willing to bet that most people who have done jury service will have a story to tell. My own stock of anecdotes, from a stint at Blackfriars Crown Court back in November (I saw the very best and the terrible worst of the system), are a little too tired to bear further repetition here, but the historian in me continues to lament how few paper records the whole process seemed to generate. With the provision of raw material for future historians and genealogists in mind, I think that we're missing a trick here: no lists of jurors' names appear to be kept, let alone papers - such as they are - from the deliberating room. And if the system was based on proper record-keeping think how rich such accumulated data would be: you'd have the massed names beloved of genealogists, plus maybe minutes, verbatim transcriptions, votes and so forth. True you'd have to slap a 100-year closure period on the whole lot, but we are talking about future historians here - they can wait. 

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