Department of Justice still examining jury reform report

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald

Nearly four years after a report recognised concerns over the representative nature of juries, the Department of Justice is still examining proposals to reform jury laws.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald answered a Dáil question from Joan Burton TD on gender balance in jury selection.

She pointed out that there is “no statutory requirement for gender balance on juries”, but drew attention to the Law Reform Commission’s 2013 report on jury service.

The report examines whether qualification for jury service should be extended beyond Irish citizens; the categories of persons who are ineligible for jury service; persons who are excusable as of right from jury service; deferral of jury service; disqualification from jury service; jury tampering; juror misconduct; juror expenses; lengthy and complex jury trials; and empirical research on the jury process.

In full, the report contains 56 recommendations and includes a draft Juries Bill intended to implement these.

One of the recommendations is that research should be carried out on matters such as jury representativeness, including gender balance.

Answering Ms Burton, Ms Fitzgerald said: “This detailed report and its recommendations are being examined by my Department.”

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