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Is trial by jury more "just"?

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  1. The reasons why juries have been instituted in most of democratic societies, as instruments of better justice
  2. The justice of the actual process of jury-made decisions is challenged by the facts
  3. The original ideal behind the presence of a jury is finally maybe not guaranteeing more justice but more democracy

The process of a trial is defined as the "the formal examination before a competent tribunal of the matter in issue in a civil or criminal cause in order to determine such issue". It is a legal procedure and also an eminent political event which is deeply rooted in societies and has to be adequate with their ideal of justice. In spite of the obvious features differentiating Anglo-Saxon Common Law and French-inspired Civil Law traditions, some processes and instruments are used by both legal systems. The jury is of English origin. It had been exported and fully used in the Commonwealth and was adopted by the French judicial system, mainly for criminal cases, in 1791. This instrument of "popular justice" gathers supposedly anonymous and randomly-selected citizens, usually from six to twelve, to take part in the judgment in criminal cases, and sometimes even, civil cases. The jury is usually given the duty to decide on facts, when the law and instructions remain in the hands of professional judges. The oath they swear, the secrecy of their deliberation and, usually, the unanimity they have to reach are supposed to give the jurors' decision the necessary power to ensure that it is just. However, according to The Chambers Dictionary, a trial which is "just" would be "fair, impartial; according to justice" or "in accordance with facts, valid, well-grounded". Therefore, one can question the presence of a jury in the decision-making process and how it can influence the justice of the trial, regarding both its fairness and its accordance with facts.

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