For a lengthy period of the past, Englishmen are proud of the "Bulwark, " the British Constitution. "Though at its beginning, the jury trials were more popular than royal, it was more the livery of conquering is more a symbol of freedom." It was created to facilitate the legal procedure, and it became more well-known due to the advancement of civilisation.


Courts were conducted in the open air, on a hill. It could be a County Court or Hundred Court or even a Court of a great Baron. A Sheriff, an officer, Lord Steward, Sheriff's Bailiff, or Lord Steward were the judges. Many free landowners in the district were required to attend the event as Doomsmen. Doomsmen weren't judges however. The President issued only procedure and handed down sentences using their assistance. The conflict arose because both parties claimed to be right. In these cases, the decision precedes the evidence. There are two ways of proof, which are:

  1. Affirmations and
  2. Ordeals

"Cumpurgators" were Oath Helpers who, after swearing with success, each of the helpers to take oaths could swear "By God that oath is true and clean". Doomsmen decided the number and the quality of the oath-taking helpers to be named. If the offense was grave, the person was taken to Ordeal. The "Ordeal" was interpreted as a Judgment of God.

The Ordeal consisted of four types,

  1. Firefighter's Ordeal
  2. Hot water is a nightmare,
  3. Coldwater, cold feeling and
  4. The Ordeal of Morsel.

The Norman Conquest brought another affliction: the legal fight or trial through battle. This was an appeal to the God of Battles. God for the victory Battles.


The origins of the jury go back as far as the usage in the Norman and Plantagenet Kings of the continental inquisition, a probe into the administration of local authorities. As an institution of justice, the jury could be considered to have an English origin and has been adapted for trials in criminal cases by other countries. The word "trial by jury" appears to be a continental concept. Maitland believed that the actual basis of the jury could be found in the "Frankish inquest that was a law passed through William I. The "inquest" was a royal request for information requested by the government. It was a directive that the district chief was to summon a group of people from the district who were aware of the circumstances to prove the truth. It was, however, the royal prerogative to collect the full amount. If it was used by an uncompromising king who could gather data, it proved to be a highly efficient weapon. In the event of necessity, torture was employed. In England, the "inquest" was called to be a witness to answer questions. However, under the supervision of judges who weren't Canonists, the jury was no longer being witnesses. It became the people who had to decide the truth by hearing the testimony of other witnesses. The creation of Doomsday was the first instance of a trial conducted by the inquest. The credit for establishing the English Jury Trial is due to Henry II, who employed it across all departments under his administration. The juries were utilised in criminal and civil trials in the following manner:


As an institution of justice in England, we examine the background of jury trials in civil matters, going back to the legislation in Henry II providing for bodies of neighbours to be called to settle disputes relating to the possession or ownership of land. For ownership issues, the Grand Assize was established in real-life cases as a substitute for trials by battle, possibly through the Council in Windsor in the year 1170. Dispossession cases were brought up under the Assizes for Possessory or Petty, introduced in 1166. Henry II made two significant modifications in the way he decided on cases of ownership or possession of the land. The first reform was introduced through a series of Assizes referred to informally as Petty or Possessory Assizes. The regulations required that the Chancery issue a writ at the request of the Sheriff in the county in which the land at issue was to summon 12 lawful persons to render a verdict to the justices who would take the assize upon their entry to the county. The verdict answered the query posed in the writ, which called for the assize to decide if illegal eviction of the disputed property had occurred. The other change of the court was called the Grand Assize, which was more complex, as it was a different option to a 'trial by war'.

In contrast, the Grand Assizes were intended to resolve the issue of the real title to and ownership over the property in dispute. Secondly, the writ that started proceedings via Petty Assizes is the one that initiated the proceedings. The Grand Assize could only be open when a writ was issued. Thirdly it was solely an act of trial, whereas it was a trial method. Petty Assizes were innovative ways of proceeding. The procedure for an Assize is to send a summons to the County Sheriff in which the land was situated to summon four knights to vote on twelve others. In both cases, the commonality was that the verdict accepted any law necessary to establish the facts of the disseisin. It was the Jurors or Assize that referred to their understanding. However, today, juries hear witnesses and then decide on the evidence they present, and the jury doesn't speak of its understanding.


We traced the development of the small (petit) jury in criminal trials to the 13th and 14th centuries, when the courts were urging people to accept this type of trial as a replacement for the old ordeals that were abolished following the Lateran Council in 1215 had prohibited the clergy from participating in the trials. "The Assizes of Clarendon and Northampton required that 12 lawful men from each Hundred had to expose the crimes they had been aware of or heard about. They were not required to speak of their own experiences but rather of the reputed crimes in their area. It was the modern Grand Jury." The Grand Jury originated with the Jury of Presentment, which was enacted for Clarendon in 1166, and the assize of Northampton in 1176. The purpose of the Grand Jury was to decide on indictments or charges for serious criminal acts. The role of the Grand Jury was originally to inform judges of criminal cases so that justice could be served upon proof of guilt but not to decide on guilt. Grand Jury heard evidence in the privacy of their own homes, and if they believed that there was a basis to try, it was left up to the court to present the case before the Petty Jury on indictment. In 1933, the Grand Jury was abolished 1933 under the Administration of Justice Act. A Petty Jury only decides whether the accused is, in fact, guilty of the offence alleged. "The King was unable to fight, therefore, following the end of Ordeal There was no adequate evidence to prove the seriousness of the crime in addition to trial by battle in the event of 'private prosecution' through an appeal against criminal charges. Therefore, the judges tried to persuade the suspect to place himself in the county level, i.e., to accept the decisions of twelve of his neighbours. The judges initially were inclined to force the accused to appear for trial before a jury, however in the end, they allowed the possibility of a trial or the sentence for and dure."


Nobody can be tried by a Jury who is unwilling to be tried. This is why Edward III authorised this type of torture within the Yearbooks. "We could force the victim to sign a consent form and then starve to make him consent. We can speed up the process of starvation by placing you completely naked in the basement and placing weights on your chest till he declares that he accepts the verdict of his fellow jurors." The 1772 trial was the first time, the inhumanity of 'peine fore et sure was substituted by the plea of guilt. In 1351, the law was passed that anyone who was a member of the jury for presentment must be able to serve as a member of the Petty Jury in cases of criminality or trespass. This meant that their responsibilities were clarified.


In the beginning, jurors were summoned not to see if they could be heard or be heard but rather to see if they could give evidence. These were the witnesses. They were picked by Sheriffs to represent the neighbourhood. There have been many times when juries have been controlled differently. The first method was the old jury writ known as Artaint. If the twelve jurors committed a fraud themselves in their verdict, another 24 could be put in prison and make them famous for the rest of their lives. As time passed and at a slow pace, juries pushed back their old and changed their character as they became more complex to human activities. The fifteenth century was when the changes took place. In the following years, Star Chamber took the responsibility of enforcing jurors' verdicts and penalising those who made mistakes with fines. Star Chamber was abolished in 1641. In the case of Bushell (1670), this method of trial for judges was declared unlawful. "Since this date," as Prof. Holdsworth claims, "that juries are controlled only by the power conferred in a judge to disqualify any jury that disagrees with his decision, as well as the power granted to an appeals court allow another trial if the verdict goes against the weight of evidence."


If we think of "trial by jury" as a vehicle for the discovery of truth and the punishment of criminals, the medieval jury was a weak thing. There were also many flaws:

  1. Too often, its verdict could have been the result of guesswork. Sometimes, a person has gone to the gallows because of his reputation and did not do the wrong thing. It was only in slow stages that justice officials insisted jurors were required to hear the testimony of witnesses in court and then rely on the evidence presented in open court.
  2. Later Middle Ages the escape of the guilty was more common than the punishment given to the innocent. Later, the rule was changed to allow juries to decide unless twelve jurors were in the same mind.
  3. Bribery may have a lot of impacts, and Seigniorial influence may be more effective. The Sheriff, who was not impervious as he had personal opinions and dislikes, was able to do everything since it was up to him to select jurors.
  4. The person who was accused of the crime was cleared or found guilty through the opinions of neighbours.
  5. This kind of organisation was ineffective. Every lawful and decent man was bound the sound and cry of the crowd when it was mentioned.
  6. Neighbours, etc. took care of their neighbourhood but did not care for other people.
  7. Even if jurors were aware of the criminal's name, the odds seemed to be about ten times the odds that he wasn't caught.
  8. Most heinous crimes were regular as such: murder and highway robbery became the norm.

Due to the above flaws, an amendment was soon to be made to change the method of distributing justice. Lord Camden stated: "Trial by jury is essential to our Constitution. Remove it, and the whole structure will soon be smashed into dust. These are the ideals that I grew up with, taught by precept, enriched by the experience, and reinforced by the example of others." In 1806 when Erskine was appointed Lord Chancellor, in the year 1806, he adopted 'trial by jury as his principle. Lord Longborough was, prior to the appointment of Lord Chancellor, stated the following "Judges can make mistakes, juries can be corrupt and their thinking may be influenced by interests or passion. However, juries are not vulnerable to the same shady influences." In the end, the Juries Act of 1825 made several changes to the procedure of jury trials.


The jury's role in civil matters has become increasingly restricted over the past fifty years. Prior to 1933, the rule was that juries could be arranged in the Queen's Bench Division if either party required it. However, under the Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1933, the rule of thumb is that the judge has the discretion to decide whether or not the jury is called, with the exception that juries must be summoned upon request of any the parties in cases of defamation or malicious prosecution, seduction, and false imprisonment the breach of promise to marry or on the request of the party that is being accused of fraud unless the court determines that the trial is likely to involve an extended review of records or accounts or a more scientific or local investigation that is not easily conducted using the help of a jury. The jury must consist of 12 people and has to be unanimous. If the judge has decision-making discretion in the Act, it's completely free of discretion'. When a judge does not sit with the jury, then, of course, the judge decides on the facts and the law. Before the Chancery Amendment Act, 1858, trial by jury was not an option in the Court of Chancery and the authority to summon juries to the Chancery Division, which the Judicature Acts provided, 1873-1925, was largely ignored. Juries are often used in divorce petitions that are defended and were probate causes. A jury of eight could be requested in the County Court (County Courts Act 1934) however, this option is not often used. A Coroner is required to summon an audience comprised of seven to eleven people in certain cases (Coroners Amendment Act 1926).


The Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1933 and the Criminal Justice Act, 1948 eliminated the Grand Jury of twenty-three county gentlemen. It was been for centuries regarded as the prima evidence of guilt for the accused through preferring or dismissing indictments. An indictment is a written accusation of crime-treason, felony or misdemeanour-formerly presented by the Grand Jury and now since 1933 signed by the proper officer of the court. Indictments are issued to prisoners who is tried by a Petty Jury. A Petty Jury comprises twelve people whose verdict has to be unanimous. In Brain and Wilkes v. Minister of Pensions, Denning, J. declared, "Ever since 1367, the law has stipulated that a jury's verdict must be unanimous. If they are unable to be able to agree, even if one is dissident the case will be heard by a different jury. The cases where jury members do not agree are few due to the common-sense manner to apply the rule to unanimity is implemented. Sometimes, the jury is asked whether they have to be unanimous or state that they can't agree, or that a few are not in agreement with the other. In such cases, the judge will tell them to be unanimous, however the majority of times, he will explain that the word "unanimity" is referring to an equal basis with the instructions from Finley, J. in R. Klein v. Klein (1932). He warns them that it is essential to agree when it is feasible to achieve this. To be able to agree, there will be inevitably an exchange and sharing; when any member discovers himself in a minority and is inclined to diverge from the majority, he must be sure to carefully take into account the reasoning in favor and against it and keep in mind that he might be right; and that you can truly convince himself to agree in the opinion of the majority, even if he hesitates or reluctantly, he must take the initiative; however, when he is unable to do it in accordance with the oath the member has signed and can't convince others to agree with his view then it is his responsibility to disagree and in the absence of agreement , there is no decision." In the Magistrates Courts Act 1952, minor offences, including a wide range of violations of regulations enacted by statute, can be ruled out based on information or a complaint filed by Magistrates Courts in a summary manner, i.e., without the formal indictment of a jury. The two types of criminal crimes overlap, but certain indictable offenses can be dealt with in a summative manner in Magistrates Courts subject to the agreement of the person accused. However, the person accused of an offence that is punishable by summary execution may, in certain circumstances, declare that jurors will try them at The Assizes or the Quarter Sessions. Overall, the procedure of jury trial is a significant part of this English justice system.