Citizenship, Public Participation, Democracy and Modern Juries in Criminal Trials

Lynn Hancock, The Open University
Roger Matthews, Middlesex University

The importance of 'citizenship' and 'public involvement' has been promoted in a number of settings in the UK over recent years. Paradoxically, however, a variety of processes have resulted in diminishing opportunities for citizens' involvement in the jury trial. While there has been a great deal of discussion of the notion of 'citizenship', and most recently, the idea of 'active citizenship' (see Marinetto 2003) in sociology and social theory there have been only limited excursions into this territory by criminologists and those researching criminal justice. Some aspects of 'community involvement' in crime prevention, community safety and criminal justice have been given research attention, but there have been few attempts to centre the jury as a key site where 'citizenship' is forged and played out. This paper will examine how debates about citizenship, public involvement and ideas of 'representativeness' manifest themselves in the modern jury trial. The paper draws upon recent research carried out under the auspices of the Home Office's Innovative Research Grant Scheme with people who have served as jurors in the English system.

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Updated 05/20/2006