Last week I was called to do my civil duty as a juror. When I got the notice in December I thought it would be interesting to go on a jury. Since this is how the New Zealand court system works I have always strongly believed it was ones duty to do jury service. This is the second time I have been called to do jury service (couldn’t go the first time as I had university exams) and so I was keen to go. I thought it would be an interesting experience.
Well after having spent a whole week in court I can understand why a lot of people don’t agree with our jury system. I mean if you’re not called on the jury you have to come back every day that week to see if you get called to a case. I understand that we need a large amount of people to be there to get a good cross section of society but I can also see the waste in work hours that this causes everyone.
So how does my view differ after having now completed my jury service? I definitely found it interesting and challenging. Though I’m not sure it’s a great use of public funds/ time. In Holland they have a 3 judge system where trained judges hear the cases and pass judgement. In some ways this seems a much better system as judges know the law and so will not be moved by emotions though I guess when you have 12 jurors who have to come to a unanimous decision I guess this gets rid of emotions too? Not really sure what the answer is but I still like the idea of juror being a civil duty.