The jury have been a fundamental part of our legal system since 1215, this was the year that the Magna Carta was introduced. The purpose of the Magna Carta is to recognise a persons right to trial by "the lawful judgement of their peers". The independence of the jury was made final in the case of Bushell's case in 1670. This was to confirm that the judge cannot manipulate or try to gain a mental edge on the jury so that the judge can get what they want.
Jurors usually get called up for 2 weeks and they may sit on up to 3 juries in that time. Jurors can be given a discretionary excusal so that if they have other commitments they can rearrange the dates set for them to sit on a jury. If a juror is related to any person involved in the trial from defendant to judge/magistrate, they must inform a court clerk or somebody of that stature.
Members of the armed forces, medical profession and also MP's are ineligible from taking part in jury service. In order to be selected for jury service, there are specific requirements you must meet. You must be 18-70 years old, you need to be signed up with the electoral register also deaf and blind people are not allowed to take part in jury service, mentally disabled people are also ineligible to be called for jury service (Juries Act 1974 as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2003).
Jurors are selected randomly by computer so that there is no biasness involved. As I previously mentioned, candidates must be signed up with the electoral register. This simply means they are eligible to vote in a general election. The method used to pick out the possible jury servers consists of a computer randomly selecting those registered, then a Central Bureau is contacted and summons are sent to those concerned.
It can be argued that this technique is not representative, this is because some people will not be registered with the electoral register, whether it be because they are not interested in politics, they may be young adults so they may not be bothered to take the time out to sign up or they may simply be too arrogant to register, for example the ethnic minority may not know to do so, or they may feel that they do not really have the right to be able to vote in the general election. Homeless people are also not allowed to be called up for jury service due to the fact they have no address to be able to send summons to.
People who have served more than 5 years in prison cannot be called for jury service, mentally disabled people are also ineligible. If 5 less than 5 years have been spent in prison then there is a 10 year ban to be included in jury service. Disqualified jurors are required to inform the court clerk. If a man had been had been in prison for 5 years or more, they may have become anti-police or had awful experiences in prison so they may be biased towards the defendant. There was one specific case which was held at an Inner London Court, which consisted of a man who had 15 previous convictions, he was foreman during 2 trials!
Members of the armed forces, medical profession and also MP's are ineligible from taking part in jury service. This can unbalance the way juries are representative of society. There are some reasons that excusals can be given and dates to be rearranged, these are; job commitments and family commitments, these people are not let off from doing jury service, the dates are simply rearranged (Criminal Justice Act 2003). This was made in order to increase the amount of the middle class population involved and taking part in jury service, this balanced out how representative juries are compared to when they were just let off the hook.