Although juries have existed in Australia for more than 150 years, very little empirical evidence is available concerning their operation. This article reports the first in a series of studies aimed at investigating and enhancing judges communications with juries. Judges who preside over criminal jury trials (49 from New Zealand and 136 from Australia) completed questionnaires to gather information about their jury communication practices. Results reveal that practices are highly variable, particularly between Australia and New Zealand, but also across and even within States. Significant differences occurred concerning the average duration of the charge, whether judges provide (or allow) jurors to receive written or diagrammatic aids, whether jurors have access to the transcript, how jurors can ask questions, the scope of preliminary instructions on the law, and whether judges provide information about resolving disputations among jurors. Policy implications and the need for ongoing research are discussed.
|Pages (from-to)||235 - 255|
|Number of pages||21|
|Journal||Journal of Judicial Administration|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|