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Scottish jury research: findings from a mock jury study

The study is the first mock jury research to consider the unique nature of the Scottish jury system with 15 jurors, three verdicts and a simple majority.


Annex A - Full research questions

1. What are jurors' understandings of the not proven verdict and why might they choose one over another verdict?

a. What are mock jurors' understanding(s) of the difference between not proven and not guilty verdicts and their consequences (e.g. retrial)?

b. What reasons do mock jurors give for why they might choose one verdict over the other?

2. What effects do the unique features of the Scottish jury system (majority, size and the three verdict system) have on jury reasoning and jury decision-making?

a. Are there any differences in mock jury verdicts between a two verdict system and a three verdict system? What might explain those differences? (e.g. use and/or understanding of not proven verdict, consideration of evidence, length of deliberation, etc.).

b. Where individual mock jurors alter their verdict (between not proven and not guilty) as a result of jury deliberations what reasons do they give for doing so?

c. How does jury size (15 person jury compared to a 12 person jury) affect levels of participation of members of a mock jury?

d. Are there any differences in mock jury verdicts between a 12 and 15 person jury? What might explain those differences?

e. Are there any differences in mock jury verdicts between a simple majority for guilty and unanimity or a qualified majority for any verdict?

f. What are the differences (if any) in jury reasoning and decision-making, between requiring a jury to reach unanimity or a qualified majority for any verdict and requiring a jury to reach a guilty verdict by a simple majority? Are there any indications as to how these differences might explain any observed variation in mock jury verdicts between the two verdict systems?

g. Does a unanimous verdict or qualified majority confer any advantages over a simple majority verdict? (e.g. whether unanimity encourages a fuller debate of the issues arising and/or the jury to act as a unit).

h. What effect, if any, does jury size have on jury reasoning and decision-making (including jury verdict) in a system of unanimity or qualified majority with 2 verdicts? (E.g. does a jury of 15 find it more difficult to reach a unanimous verdict than a jury of 12?).

i. Are there any differences in mock jury verdicts between a 12 person jury with only 2 possible verdicts (English and Welsh model) and a 15 person jury with 3 verdicts (Scottish model)? Drawing on the results of this simulation and other case simulations, what might explain those differences?

j. Overall, what do the findings of the mock jury research tell us about how the various independent variables (number of verdicts, simple majority verdict vs. unanimity/qualified majority verdict and jury size) interact with each other?

Contact

Email: catherine.bisset@gov.scot

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