Irish Jurors: Passive Observers or Active Participants?

(2014) 35(2) Journal of Legal History 143-171

37 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2015

See all articles by Niamh Howlin

Niamh Howlin

Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

What was the role played by jurors in civil and criminal trials from the late eighteenth to the late nineteenth century? This article establishes that during this period, juries in Ireland played a relatively active role. It examines individual reports of civil and criminal trials and considers the nature of juror participation during this period, establishing that jurors frequently questioned witnesses, berated counsel, interrupted judges, demanded better treatment and added their own observations to the proceedings. This article compares the nature and level interaction from different categories of jury – civil and criminal, common and special. It asks why Irish jurors continued to be active participants until late in the nineteenth century, and how the bench and bar received their input. It also suggests that English jurors may also have played a more active role during this period than previously thought. Finally, the article considers some possible reasons for the silencing of Irish jurors by the late nineteenth century.

Keywords: jury, Ireland, jurors, trial procedure, criminal justice, civil procedure, juries, jurors, legal history, nineteenth century, witnesses

Suggested Citation

Howlin, Niamh, Irish Jurors: Passive Observers or Active Participants? (2014). (2014) 35(2) Journal of Legal History 143-171, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2559037

Niamh Howlin (Contact Author)

Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin ( email )

Ireland

HOME PAGE: http://www.ucd.ie/law/staff/faculty/niamhhowlin/

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