Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

The Role of Directed Verdicts in the Criminal Trial

(2012) 21 Journal of Judicial Administration 146-167

Monash University Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012/20

22 Pages Posted: 24 May 2013  

Natalia Antolak-Saper

Monash University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

In Australia, the right to a trial by jury is central to preserving the liberty of an accused against oppression and injustice. A right that is typically retained for serious criminal offences, it is accorded protection at a federal level through the Australian Constitution. Where the right to a trial by jury is exercised, the jury acts as the trier of fact, and the judge acts as the trier of law. However, in limited circumstances, a trial judge is permitted to direct the jury to return a particular verdict. Although such a direction undermines the clear demarcation of judge and jury, it is currently permissible under Australian law. This article discusses the purpose, regularity and practice of judicially directed verdicts in Australia. It primarily draws upon recent developments in the United Kingdom and Canada for the purpose of considering relevant policy arguments and reform options. It is suggested that judicially directed convictions should be abolished in Australia, whereas judicially directed acquittals should be appropriately reformed, in order to establish an appropriate framework for directed verdicts.

Keywords: juries, directed verdicts, criminal trials

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Antolak-Saper, Natalia, The Role of Directed Verdicts in the Criminal Trial (2012). (2012) 21 Journal of Judicial Administration 146-167; Monash University Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012/20. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2268985

Natalia Antolak-Saper (Contact Author)

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Paper statistics

Downloads
68
Rank
286,610
Abstract Views
384