Research into how juries reach decisions, including their use of the ‘not proven’ verdict, will be carried out over the next two years.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson confirmed that a team, headed up by Ipsos Mori working in collaboration with Professors James Chalmers and Fiona Leverick (University of Glasgow) and Professor Vanessa Munro (University of Warwick), has been appointed to carry out the study.
This research will consider jury size, decision making processes, majorities needed and the three verdict system, and will gather evidence to inform future reform of the criminal justice system in Scotland.
Mr Matheson said: “This important research is a direct result of Lord Bonomy’s post-corroboration safeguards review in which he recommended that research should be carried out to ensure that any changes to our jury system are made only on a fully informed basis, including the impact having a three verdict system has on decision making.
“The Ipsos Mori team will work in collaboration with three respected academics and will use case simulations rather than real jurors. Their findings will help inform any future decisions that may be taken I relation to potential reforms of our criminal justice system.”
Lorraine Murray, Deputy Managing Director of Ipsos MORI Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be undertaking this important and ground-breaking research – the first of its kind in Scotland. With the help of several hundreds of members of the public who will sit on ‘mock juries’, we will be able to provide unique insights into how Scottish juries reach their decisions.”
Professor James Chalmers, University of Glasgow, said: “Research with mock juries has been used around the world to inform criminal justice reform, but the Scottish jury is so different from juries in other countries there are limits to what can be learned from all this work. This study will help us understand just what difference the special features of the Scottish jury system make in practice.”