Legal Interpreter for the Jury: The Role of the Clerk of the Court in Spain

19 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2016

See all articles by Mar Jimeno-Bulnes

Mar Jimeno-Bulnes

University of Burgos - Faculty of Law ; Chicago-Kent College of Law - Illinois Institute of Technology

Valerie P. Hans

Cornell University - School of Law

Date Written: May 25, 2016

Abstract

English Abstract: The Clerk of the Court (secretario judicial) in Spanish provincial courts is an important legal actor in the proceedings of the modern Spanish jury, introduced in 1995. In contrast to the general verdicts of traditional common-law juries, Spanish juries must answer an often lengthy list of specific questions, and must provide the reasoning supporting these responses. Early on, many Spanish juries found the task of providing legally acceptable responses and reasons challenging. Because the law permits the clerk to enter the deliberation room to assist the jury in its writing of the verdict, the clerk has come to act as a principal intermediary between the formal demands of the law and lay citizens serving on the jury. The purpose of the present study is to analyze the role of the Clerk of the Court in Spanish jury proceedings, including the jury selection phase and the verdict writing process. Drawing on interviews with Clerks of the Court, we find that clerks’ views of appropriate intervention and clerks’ practices differ significantly across jurisdictions.

Spanish Abstract: El secretario judicial de los tribunales provinciales españoles es un importante actor legal en los juicios por jurado modernos españoles, introducidos en 1995. Frente a los veredictos generales de los jurados tradicionales del derecho consuetudinario, los jurados españoles deben responder a una a veces extensa lista de preguntas específicas y deben proporcionar una justificación razonada a estas respuestas. En un primer momento, muchos jurados españoles encontraron difícil la tarea de proporcionar respuestas y razones legalmente aceptables. Como la ley permite entrar al secretario en la sala de deliberaciones para ayudar al jurado en la redacción de la sentencia, el secretario se ha convertido en el intermediario principal entre las peticiones formales de la ley y los ciudadanos que sirven de jurado. El propósito del presente estudio es analizar el papel del secretario judicial en los juicios por jurado españoles, incluyendo la fase de selección del jurado y el proceso de escritura del veredicto. A partir de entrevistas con secretarios judiciales, llegamos a la conclusión de que las opiniones de los secretarios sobre intervenciones adecuadas y las prácticas de los secretarios difieren de forma significativa entre jurisdicciones.

Keywords: Jury, Spanish jury, reasoned verdicts, clerk, Spain, lay participation, comparative legal systems, Jurado, jurado español, veredictos razonados, secretarios judiciales, España, participación de legos, sistemas jurídicos comparados

Suggested Citation

Jimeno-Bulnes, Mar and Hans, Valerie P., Legal Interpreter for the Jury: The Role of the Clerk of the Court in Spain (May 25, 2016). Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2784185

Mar Jimeno-Bulnes (Contact Author)

University of Burgos - Faculty of Law ( email )

Hospital del Rey s/n
Burgos, Burgos 09001
Spain
34-947-258735 (Phone)
34-947-258702 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ubu.es/caji

Chicago-Kent College of Law - Illinois Institute of Technology

565 W. Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60661-3691
United States

Valerie P. Hans

Cornell University - School of Law ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States
607-255-0095 (Phone)

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