Background and aims
This paper summarises the key findings of a large-scale mock jury study, conducted on behalf of the Scottish Government by Ipsos MORI Scotland and researchers from the Universities of Glasgow and Warwick.
The Scottish jury system differs from most English language jurisdictions in three main ways:
- There are three verdicts: guilty, not guilty and not proven (most major English language jurisdictions only have two verdicts: guilty and not guilty).
- Each jury has 15 members (rather than the typical 12).
- Verdicts are returned by a simple majority (eight out of 15 jurors, rather than requiring juries to reach unanimity or near unanimity).
The study addressed two overarching questions:
- What effects do the unique features of the Scottish jury system have on jury reasoning and jury decision making?
- What are jurors' understandings of the not proven verdict and why might they choose this verdict over another verdict?