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Synopsis

Reason Curve, Jury Competence, and the English Criminal Justice System, a cross-jurisdictional and cross-disciplinary book, seeks to stimulate discussion and extend the debate in the area of criminal trials in light of the absence of an articulated explanation for a verdict. The book traces the history and development of the jury, from the Carolingian kings, its advancement in the English Courts following papal intervention, the impact of the Magna Carta, to its general use, current curtailment in England and Wales, and re-emergence in Continental Europe. Central to the book's submission is the dictum that the jurors' franchise to deliver a cryptic verdict is 'a matter between them and their conscience.' In light of human and civil rights movements, the book advances arguments that a cryptic verdict may offend the principle of fair trials in criminal justice. This is amplified by the presence of a developing and significant body of law that demands that decisions by public officers be accompanied by articulated pronouncements regarding the basis for their decision.

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