Development of Civil Jury System in England

By Nidhi Singh, National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi

Editor’s Note: The paper talks about the development of the jury system in England with special emphasis on civil juries. What is a jury? A jury is a group of ordinary citizens of predetermined number whom a duly constituted public official has called together for the purpose of answering a question. The jury system was much engrained in the justice system of England from the very start going back to the 5th and 6th B.C and a chronological decent of the jury system is provided from that time as witnessed by many great civilizations. Inspiration for the present day jury system is taken from many a civilization and such a description of its varied forms is explained. Important developments in the jury system with reforms proposed by King Henry II to the Magna Carta are covered. Finally a detailed description of various types of juries used in civil cases, including the grand assize, the possessory assize, the assize ultrum and the jurata is provided.”


This paper attempts to trace the history and development of the jury system in early England, with special emphasis on civil juries. For the sake of convenience, this paper is divided into 8 sections. The first section provides a brief introduction to the jury system. It provides a basic idea of what a jury is and its basic features. The second section of the paper uses quotes to bring out the thoughts of eminent writers and legal scholars on, the jury system. It goes on to compare and contrast some of the views put forward by these eminent personalities.

The third section in the paper describes the emergence of the jury system. It attempts to chronologically trace the decent of the jury system, from 5 or 6 B.C., covering most legal systems which are said to have had a major hand in its formation. The fourth section of the paper describes other ancient legal systems from which the present day jury system was allegedly derived; it does so by first examining ancient mechanisms from which the jury system is said to have traced its descent.

The next section captures certain important stages or milestones in the growth of juries. This includes reforms of King Henry II, the Magna Carta and some important cases which helped in shaping the history of civil juries. The sixth section of the paper covers in brief the growth of the jury system after the Norman conquests. The seventh section is based upon the types of juries used in civil cases, including the grand assize, the possessory assize, the assize ultrum and the jurata.

The eighth and final section of the paper contains a small conclusion to the topic. It attempts to summarize the topic, and presents a small gist of the development of civil juries in England.

Introduction to the jury system

The Jury system is considered to be a distinctive feature of Anglo-Saxon-Jurisprudence. Some call it “The favourite child of the English Law”[i] (Forsyth 1878), although other European Nations have also developed systems similar to it. The origin of Jury system in England was a national recognition of the principle that no man should be condemned except by the voice of his fellow citizens. Nothing is as basic to British Democratic System as is the right to trial by Jury. It is the heart of their legal system. It is the cherished institution whose initial future remains the struggle to obtain justice in a society that finds itself increasingly bombarded by cynical attempts to “reform” the system. The truth and upright beauty of the judicial system is that it embraces a faith in the collective wisdom of the community[ii].

The jury as a recognizable institution dates back at least to the twelfth century[iii]. Historians who have attempted to piece together its beginnings are not in agreement, but often attach significance to evidence of early use of lay decision-makers in support of their own theories about the proper jury role.[iv] The historical foundations of the jury are useful to review because they suggest that active community participation in legal decision making is consistent with the jury’s institutional origins[v].

Founded in times when the judicial process was primitive and society was more homogeneous, the jury’s primary purpose was to bring community knowledge relevant to the resolution of local disputes[vi]. Later, as distrust of government, including powerful judges, emerged as a community concern, citizens viewed the jury as a buffer against tyranny[vii], protecting the liberty of powerless individuals from the rulings of the elite decision-makers.

In essence, a jury is a group of ordinary citizens of predetermined number whom a duly constituted public official has called together for the purpose of answering a question. Jury trials are used in a significant share of serious criminal cases in almost all common law legal systems, and juries or lay judges have been incorporated into the legal systems of many civil law countries for criminal cases.

Thoughts of eminent writers on the jury system

Thomas Jefferson– “I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution”[viii]

William Blackstone– Jury is “the glory of English law”, “a strong … barrier between the liberties of the people and prerogatives of the Crown“ “The impartial administration of justice, which secures both our persons and our properties, is the great end of civil society. But if that be entirely entrusted to the magistracy, a select body of men, and those generally selected by the prince or such as enjoy the highest offices in the state, their decisions, in spite of their own natural integrity, will have frequently an involuntary bias toward those of their own rank and dignity; it is not to be expected from human nature that the few should always be attentive to the interests and good of the many.”[ix]

Adam Smith “Another thing which curbs the power of the judge is that all causes must be tried with regard to the fact by a jury. The matter of the fact is left entirely to their determination.”

Charles de Montesquieu– “The judiciary power ought not to be given to a standing senate; it should be exercised by persons taken from the body of the people at certain times of the year, and consistently with a form and manner prescribed by law, in order to erect a tribunal that should last only so long as necessity requires.”

Lord Patrick Devlin– “Each jury is a little parliament. The jury sense is the parliamentary sense. I cannot see the one dying and the and the other surviving. The first object of any tyrant in Whitehall would be to make Parliament utterly subservient to his will; and the next to overthrow or diminish trial by jury, for no tyrant could afford to leave a subject’s freedom in the hands of twelve of his countrymen. So that trial by jury is more than an instrument of justice and more than one wheel of the Constitution: it is the lamp that shows that freedom lives.”[x] [xi]

Emergence of the jury system

The emergence of juries can however, be traced back to ancient Greece as long ago as 5 or 6 BC. There existed in Ancient Athens a mechanism through which it was assured that no one could select jurors, called dikastaí, for their own trial. For normal cases, the courts were made up of dikastai of up to 500 citizens[xiii]. For capital cases, those which involved death, the loss of liberty, exile, the loss of civil rights, or the seizure of property, the trial was before a jury of 1,001 to 1,501 dikastai. In such large juries the unanimity rule would be unrealistic and verdicts were reached by majority. [xiv]

Its appearance in Rome can be seen about 10 centuries later. Rome employed the system of juries in majority of civil cases, where there were tribunals with the characteristics of the jury, the Roman judges being civilian, lay and not professional[xv]. Capital trials were held in front of juries composed of hundreds or thousands of people. Roman law provided for the yearly selection of judices, who would be responsible for resolving disputes by acting as jurors, with a praetor performing many of the duties of a judge. There was great discretion in the appointment of judges, High government officials and their relatives were barred from acting as judices, due to conflicts of interest[xvi]. Those previously found guilty of serious crimes (felonies) were also barred. The law which governed this was as follows:

The peregrine praetor (literally, traveling judge) within the next ten days after this law is passed by the people or plebs shall provide for the selection of 450 persons in this State who have or have had a knight’s census… provided that he does not select a person who is or has been plebeian tribune, quaestor, triumvir capitalis, military tribune in any of the first four legions, or triumvir for granting and assigning lands, or who is or has been in the Senate, or who has fought or shall fight as a gladiator for hire… or who has been condemned by the judicial process and a public trial whereby he cannot be enrolled in the Senate, or who is less than thirty or more than sixty years of age, or who does not have his residence in the city of Rome or within one mile of it, or who is the father, brother, or son of any above-described magistrate[xvii], or who is the father, brother, or son of a person who is or has been a member of the Senate, or who is overseas”[xviii]

The modern western world traces their origin to England where in the early stages, they were regarded simply as a body of men convened to aid the monarch in dispensing justice – that is , the jurors did not determine guilt or innocence but were mere witnesses. [xix]

The foundation of the English jury system is traceable to the French empire under the Caroligian kings. As part of their successful attempt to unite their empire, a procedure called the inquisition, or inquest, was devised. Carried out by the representatives of the monarch, its purpose was to call together various bodies of neighbors and to ask questions and explain the sovereign’s ‘immemorial’ rights. The Norman conquerors subsequently carried the concept of inquest to England, where they used it first in the compilation of the 1086 Domesday book

While there have been numerous accounts of influences on the English jury system, another widely held view is that the English jury system evolved independently and was not copied or borrowed from any other legal system, this view however can only be substantiated after an analysis of the other legal systems present in the world, from which the English jury system is allegedly influenced.[xx]

Other ancient legal systems

The Ancient Tribunals of Scandinavia

Writers On the subject state that in all the tribunals of ancient Scandinavia, the lay members appear to Have performed the double function of judges of both law and fact, the lawman, who presided over them, acting merely in an advisory capacity, to aid in determining relevant questions of law, except where the jury could not agree, when he had greater power. Forsyth uses this circumstance in support of his contention that the English jury system could not have been derived from the Scandinavian source.[xxi]

Dikasteries of Athens

Ancient history gives us no account of more eminent judicial popular tribunals than the dikasteries, as established in Athens in the time of Pericles.  The judicial power, civil as well as criminal, was transferred to numerous dikasts, or panels of jurors selected from the citizens, 6,000 of whom were annually drawn by lot, sworn, and then distributed into ten panels of 500 each; the remainder forming a supplement in case of vacancies.[xxii] The magistrate, instead of deciding causes or inflicting punishment by his own authority, was constrained to impanel a jury, that is, to submit each particular case that might call for a penalty greater than the small fine to which he was competent) to the judgment of one or other among these numerous popular dikasteries. Which of the ten he should take was determined by lot, so that no one knew beforehand what dikastery would try any particular case. [xxiii]The magistrate himself presided over it during the trial, and submitted to it the question at issue, together with the results of his own preliminary examination, after which came the speeches of accuser and accused, with statements of their witnesses.[xxiv]

Ancient Soandinavian Tribunals

The tribunals of the people of the northern parts of Europe had, in ancient times, a popular character. From the larger body called together to represent a certain district, a smaller section, or committee, was appointed, as a special tribunal for the administration of law, and, in some cases, for the enactment of a law. This latter function would necessarily be assumed when an adjudication was made upon a state of facts to which the existing law, being as a rule simple and particular, could not be applied.[xxv] The result was accepted as the enunciation of a new rule or law. There were many characteristics about these ancient tribunals that show a remarkable and a very close analogy to our trial by jury. They were generally composed of twelve or some multiple of twelve ;they were selected from the general list of freemen of the district, who had a right to attend the general assembly ;they were sworn to give a true verdict upon the facts submitted to them ; and in most cases were subject to the approval of litigants.

Ancient Rome

From the beginning of the republic and in the majority of civil cases towards the end of the empire, there were tribunals with the characteristics of the jury, the Roman judges being civilian, lay and not professional. Capital trials were held in front of juries composed of hundreds or thousands of people in the commitias or centuries, the same as in Roman trials.[xxvi] Roman law provided for the yearly selection of judices, who would be responsible for resolving disputes by acting as jurors, with a praetor performing many of the duties of a judge.[xxvii] High government officials and their relatives were barred from acting as judices, due to conflicts of interest.[xxviii] Those previously found guilty of serious crimes (felonies) were also barred as were gladiator for hire[xxix], who likely were hired to resolve disputes through trial by combat. The law was as follows:[xxx]

The peregrine praetor (literally, traveling judge) within the next ten days after this law is passed by the people or plebs shall provide for the selection of 450 persons in this State who have or have had a knight’s census… provided that he does not select a person who is or has been plebeian tribune[xxxi], quaestor, triumvir capitalis, military tribune in any of the first four legions, or triumvir for granting and assigning lands, or who is or has been in the Senate, or who has fought or shall fight as a gladiator for hire… or who has been condemned by the judicial process and a public trial whereby he cannot be enrolled in the Senate, or who is less than thirty or more than sixty years of age, or who does not have his residence in the city of Rome or within one mile of it, or who is the father, brother, or son of any above-described magistrate, or who is the father, brother, or son of a person who is or has been a member of the Senate, or who is overseas.[xxxii]


Another likely precursor to the English jury trial was the Lafif in the Maliki School of classical Islamic law and jurisprudence, which was developed between the 8th and the 11th centuries in the medieval Islamic world. Similar to the English jury, the Islamic Lafif was a body of twelve members drawn from the neighborhood and sworn to tell the truth, who were bound to give a unanimous verdict, about matters, which they had personally seen or heard, binding on the judge, to settle the truth concerning facts in a case between ordinary people, and obtained as of right by the plaintiff.[xxxiii] A theory given by legal scholars is that it is likely that the concept of the Lafif may have been introduce to England by the Normans after their conquest of England and the Emirate of Sicily, and then evolved into the modern English jury. [xxxiv]

Important stages of growth of juries

Henry II

In the 12th century, English King Henry II took a major step in developing the jury system. He initiated systematization of the use of local reputation as a form of proof, both in the canon law and in English law. The king and his advisers and justices were not simply copying the developing canon law of proof, but rather stretching both canonical concepts and local practices to gain political advantage in the middle ground[xxxv] .

A jury of 12 free men were assigned to arbitrate in land disputes ,use of proto-juries in Henry II’s reforms builds on early medieval practices, predates the development of the learned law of proof, and thus sets the English common law on a path divergent from the rest of Europe, that of the ultimate dominance of trial by jury. In the reforms of Henry II the use of panels of locals replaced the judgment-testimony of local lay courts, and it involved thinking about the jurors as witnesses

Magna Carta

On June 15, 1215 at Runnymede, England when King John Lackland (French Sans Terre) signed the Magna Carta, it introduced jury as a veto-player to limit absolute royal power .In exchange for cash and peace, King John agreed that he and his subjects were to be governed by rule of law and that “no person may be amerced without the judgment of his peers”[xxxvi]

Fundamental strength of English property rights and the common law that had evolved from the Magna Carta and which would have circumscribed royal behavior and ultimately forced responsible government. In the 14th century Parliament interpreted the phrase ‘lawful judgment of peers’ to include trial by peers and therefore trial by jury, a process which existed only in embryo in 1215[xxxvii]

Article 39 of magna carta reads[xxxviii]

Nullus liber homo capiatur, vel imprisonetur, aut desseisetur de libero tenemento, vel libertatibus, vel liberis consuetudinibus suis, sut utlagetur, aut exuletur, aut aliquo modo destruatur, nec super eum ibimus, nec super eum mittemus, nisi per legale judicium parium suorum, vel per legem terrae.”[xxxix]

“No free man shall be captured, and or imprisoned, or disseised of his freehold, and or of his liberties, or of his free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor will we proceed against him by force or proceed against him by arms, but by the lawful judgment of his peers, and or by the law of the land.”[xl]

Gundolph V Pichot

The positive history of trial by jury, can be said to have started from this case. This was the trial between Gundolph, the bishop of Rochester, and Pichot, one of the king’s sheriffs, of the title to certain lands in Kent, of which the ownership was in dispute between the king and St. Andrew. This is the first case of which we have any record, in which the decision was rendered by a limited number of suitors, or pares curiœ, upon oath[xli].

From the record it appeared that the king commanded that all the men of that county, Kent, should be convened, in order to decide which had the better title. But they, being intimidated by the sheriff, affirmed it to be the land of the king rather than that of St. Andrew. The bishop of Baieux, the king’s justiciary, however, did not trust to their decision, and commanded, that if they knew what they said to be true, they should select twelve of their number, who should confirm by their oath that which all had said[xlii]; but the twelve, after they had retired to consult and had been alarmed by a message from the sheriff, swore on returning, that what they had already said was true. And so the land remained in the king’s hands[xliii].

 But in the same year, a monk by the name of Grim came to the bishop, and, having heard what the twelve had sworn, with wonder and detestation asserted that they were all of them perjured. For Grim himself had been the overlooker of the lord of Fracheham, and had taken services and customs for that manor, and had had one of those who had so sworn under him in the same manor. This was communicated by the bishop of Rochester to the bishop of Baieux, to whom Grim gave the same account. The jury, was convicted of perjury and was eventually fined 300£ as penalty to the king[xliv].

Ward v. James

The facts of the case were as follows; It was a motor vehicle tort action to recover for personal injuries allegedly sustained by plaintiff James Ward (“Ward”), a passenger in a car driven by third-party defendant Bradford Barrett (“Barrett”), when Barrett’s car collided with a vehicle operated by defendant Richard James (“James”).[xlv]

The principle of uniformity was taken one step further in Ward v. James [1966] 1 Q.B. 273. In that case the appeal, which raised several important issues of practice in regard to the respective functions of the judge and of the Court of Appeal regarding jury trials, was adjourned for hearing by the full court. It was held by five judges that in cases of damages for personal injury it was a most material consideration for the judge to bear in mind when ordering a trial by jury that an award of damages in such cases was, as Lord Denning M.R. put it, basically a conventional figure derived from experience and from awards in previous cases which a judge knows about but a jury does not. So a judge should not order a trial by a jury except in exceptional circumstances. It was also held that in such cases the Court of Appeal would set aside an award of damages by a jury if it was out of all proportion to the circumstances of the case.[xlvi]

Historical growth of the jury system

There is ample evidence that a jury system existed in England prior to the Norman Conquest. However although the jury system was not the creation of the common law, it was certainly one of the cornerstones of common law procedure both in civil and criminal trials.

In criminal cases there were, until 1948, two juries. The first of these was the grand jury. The grand jury was not principally a trial jury in the modern sense. It originated in the jury of presentment of the hundred and its function was to present persons for trial before the royal judges at assizes or the justices in quarter sessions[xlvii]. This function was later assumed by justices of the peace in the form of modern preliminary investigation. For this reason the grand jury (of 24 members) ceased to be functional and its duties were reduced to mere formality long before its abolition. It was virtually abolished by the Administration of justice (Miscellaneous provisions) Act 1933, save for a few purposes, and entirely abolished by the Criminal Justice act 1948.

The second jury in criminal cases was the petty jury (of 12 members). This was the equivalent of the modern trial jury. The trial of criminals by jury evolved in the 13th century to replace trial by ordeal, which the church condemned in 1215[xlviii]. Originally the grand jury of presentment also exercised the function of the trial jury, but by the middle of the 14th century, the petty jury had become distinct from its predecessor. The petty jury was initially summoned for its local knowledge and the member were really witnesses rather than judges of fact. Their function changed gradually as the practice grew of examining individual witnesses and by the 15th century, the trial jury had assumed its modern function as judges of fact.  However, it wasn’t until Bushell’s case in 1670[xlix], that it was established that jurors could not be punished for returning a verdict contrary to the evidence or direction of trial judge.

In civil cases there was only ever one type of jury- the trial jury of 12 members, which had its origins in the Assize of Clarendon 1166[l]. By 1304 it was the rule of the common law courts that all trespass action had to be tried with a jury. The result was that, with the decline of the real actions and the actions of debt and detinue[li], virtually all actions in the common law courts came to be tried with a jury and this was the position until 1854, when the steady decline of the jury in civil cases began. The function of civil juries was, originally, that of witnesses but, as with criminal juries, a similar transition from witness to judges of fact took place[lii].

It is in civil actions that the decline of the jury has been most marked. Until 1854 most civil actions in common law courts had to be tried before a jury. The common law procedure act 1854 provided for trial by a judge alone but only with consent from both parties. This trend was continued by the Judicature Acts and by 1933 only about one half of of the civil actions in the Queen’s Bench divisions were tried with a jury. The Administration of Justice (miscellaneous provisions) Act 1933 was a landmark in the decline of the civil jury. By section 6 of that act, the right to claim a civil jury was limited to cases of libel, slander, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, seduction or breach of promise of marriage on the application of either party or on the application of a party against whom fraud is alleged[liii].

Even in these cases a jury may be refused if the court considers a trial will involve a prolonged examination of documents or accounts or local investigation. In all other cases the grant of a jury was at the discretion of the court[liv]. It was thought that this discretion was absolute, but in the case of Ward v. James[lv] the court of appeal established that this was not so, and the discretion had to be exercised judicially. It also stated that in actions for damages for personal injuries trial should be by a judge alone if there are no special circumstances. The basic reason for this was the unpredictability of juries in awarding damages; they were known to make disproportionate awards to plaintiffs. Due to this they were found to be unsuitable for these cases. Since the majority of civil cases are for damages and personal injuries, Ward v. James is a landmark judgment in the decline of civil jury action.

Consequently, in little more than a century, jury trial in civil cases has virtually been superseded by trial by a judge alone. Other than the queen’s bench of the high court , juries are hardly ever encountered in civil actions. The Chancery Amendment Act, 1858, gave provisions to summon a jury in the Court of Chancery. This power was transferred to the Chancery Division by the Judicature acts but has been totally ignored. A jury of 8 may be summoned in the county courts, under the same circumstances as the Queen’s Bench Division, but this is unusual because of disproportionally high costs that would be borne. Juries may also be summoned in some of the courts of local jurisdiction. Finally coroners may, in certain cases, and must in some cases, call for a jury between 7 and 11 people[lvi].

Types of juries

The word assize refers to the sittings or sessions (Old French assises) of the judges, known as “justices of assize”, who were judges of the King’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice who travelled across the seven circuits of England and Wales on commissions of “oyer and terminer”, setting up court and summoning juries at the various Assize Towns[lvii].  The Courts of Assize, or assizes, were periodic criminal courts held around England and Wales until 1972, when together with the Quarter Sessions they were abolished by the Courts Act 1971 and replaced by a single permanent Crown Court. The assizes heard the most serious cases, which were committed to it by the Quarter Sessions (local county courts held four times a year), while the more minor offences were dealt with summarily by Justices of the Peace in petty sessions (also known as Magistrates’ Courts)[lviii].

The Grand Assize [lix]

The grand assize was a peculiar species of trial by jury, introduced in the time of Henry II., giving the tenant or defendant in a writ of right the alternative of a trial by battle, or by his peers. If the person objected to a trial by jury, he had to support this with a valid reason. The system of trial by the grand assize worked in the following way.

A writ was addressed to the sheriff commanding him to summon 4 knights of the neighborhood where the disputed property lay,

These 4 knights were, after being duly sworn, to choose 12 lawful knights, who were most cognizant of the facts (qui melius veritatem sciant);

defendant was to be summoned to hear election of 12 jurors made by 4 knights, and he might except to any of them for same reasons and in the same way as witnesses might be objected to in court

if the jurors when chosen were not unanimous, others were to be added to the number until twelve at least agreed in favor of the one side or other — This was called afforcing the assize

These 12 knights were upon their oaths to determine which of the litigant parties was entitled to the land

The last recorded instance of grand assize occurred in 1834, which led to 2 trials, the second of which took place in 1838, when 4 knights girt with swords and 12 other recognitors acted as the jury in a trial at bar in the Court of Common Pleas, and were addressed by Chief Justice Tindal in summing up, as “Gentlemen of the grand inquest,” and “Recognitors of the grand assize.” [lx]

The Possessory Assize

It was instituted by Henry II. These particular forms of legal procedure allowed quick decisions, circumventing the need to adjudicate more complex, and thus time-consuming, questions. Furthermore, such efficiency mitigated the usual resort to violence[lxi]. His possessory assizes were instituted in order to settle, pragmatically, the problem of whether a plaintiff (the party who initiated the case in court) had been forcibly dispossessed or disinherited within a relatively recent period of time[lxii].

The Assize Ultrum

This was introduced to answer the question of whether land was held by a spiritual or some lay tenure. Till 1571 it was used to chiefly return the land which belonged to churches.

The Jurata

The term jurata indicates a body of persons summoned by a public authority to answer questions of disputed facts. The jurata, or common-law jury, was a jury called .in to try the, cause, upon the prayer of the parties themselves, in cases where a jury was not given by statute Henry II , and as the jury was not given under the statute of Henry II., the writ of attaint provided in that statute would not lie against a jurata for false verdict[lxiii]. It was common for the parties to a cause to request that the cause might be decided by the assize, sitting as a jurata, in order to save trouble of summoning a new jury, in which case “cadtit as size et vertitur in juratam,” and the cause is said to be decided non in modum assizcs, but in modum juratce.[lxiv]

Early writers like glavil used the terms jurata and assisa convertibly, but the two terms had a distinct meaning. The broad difference being that an assisa was a body of jurors called upon to answer specific questions in accordance with positive law, their sole purpose was to answer these particular questions, but as time went by ordinary methods of proof came to be accepted by the jury.


In conclusion we can see that the development of juries in civil trial was a long and complex process. The jury system is hailed by Englishmen as one of its greatest indigenous institutions. But this claim is often bought into doubt; the paper traced many institutions which claimed to have influenced the jury system of England. The jury system can be traced through Greece, Rome and France. From here it is said to have been carried into England at the time of the Norman Conquests. It also stated the examples of various ancient legal systems from which the jury system could have drawn its roots such as the ancient tribunals of Scandinavia, the dikasteries of Athens, the ancient soandinavian tribunals, the lafifs etc.

We can also see the milestones in the formation of the jury system. King Henry II took a major step in developing the system by assigning juries of 12 free men to arbitrate in land disputes. In his reforms included use of locals in lay courts and thinking of jurors as witnesses. In 1215, by the introduction of the Magna Carta, the jury was given veto power to limit absolute royal power. Juries were empowered in article 39 of the Magna Carta.

Further we also see the cases of Gundolph v Pichot, in which the jury was convicted of perjury. Another landmark case was that of Ward v James, in which it was held that a trial by jury should not be held unless there are exceptional circumstances. We see the development of juries in the 19th century.

Finally we can also see the types of juries used in civil trials and their functions. Here we see broadly the functions of the grand assize, the possessory assize, the assize ultrum and the jurata.

Formatted on 14th March 2019.


[i] See

[ii] ibid

[iii] See James Bradley Thayer, The Jury and Its Development (1892)

[iv] Stephen N. Subrin, How Equity Conquered Common Law: The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in Historical Perspective (1987)

[v] See Phoebe A Haddon, Re-thinking the jury , vol. 3

[vi] Justice Seymour Simon, Keynote Address at the Allerton House Conference Proceedings on Civil Jury Trial in Illinois (May 17, 1984)

[vii] Joiner, Justice and the Jury, supra note 2, at 24-25

[viii] See

[ix] See Paul D Carrington, The Civil jury and American Democracy

[x] Devlin, Trial By Jury

[xi] For more info see Rowena Johns, Trial by Jury,

[xii] See Leopold Wenger & Otis H. Fisk, Institutes of the Roman Law of Civil Procedure (Fred B Rothman & 1986).

[xiii] See William Forsyth, History of Trial By Jury (2nd ed. 1875).

[xiv] see

[xv] See

[xvi] ibid

[xvii] See

[xviii] Acilian Law on the Right to Recovery of Property Officially Extorted, 122 B.C.

[xix] For more info see

[xx] For more info see A Trial by Jury, D. Graham Burnett

[xxi] William Forsyth , History of Trial by jury

[xxii] see Grote, Hist. Greece, vol. 5, ch. 46, p. 211.

[xxiii] Robert von Moschzisker ,Trial by Jury

[xxiv] ibid

[xxv] John proffat, Treatise on trial by Jury

[xxvi] john proffat ,Treatise on trial by jury

[xxvii] See

[xxviii] Micheal shepherd, Ancient Rome

[xxix] Richard A. Bauman, Crime and punishment in ancient rome

[xxx] J. A. Crook, Thanes and Hudson, Life and Law of Rome

[xxxi] Refer to Jo Ann Shelton ,As The Romans Did, Oxford Press 1988

[xxxii] Refer to Dr. Rudolph Masciantonio, Legal Latin

[xxxiii] See Dr Moosa Akefi Ghaziani,  Jury or Judge in the Process of Resolution Disputes ‘Iranian issue’

[xxxiv] For more info see

[xxxv] See also Reid Hastie, Inside the Jury


[xxxvii] For more info see

[xxxviii] See

[xxxix] See William Blackstone, Commentaries on the laws of england

[xl] See

[xli] Maximus A Lessee, Historical Development of the jury System

[xlii] See

[xliii] ibid

[xliv] John Joseph Lalor , TRIAL by jury,

[xlv] See

[xlvi] See

[xlvii] See R J Walker, p. 15 , The English Legal System, 5th edn.

[xlviii] See p. 16, ibid

[xlix] Vaugh, 135

[l] See R J Walker, p. 30 The English Legal System, 5th edn.

[li] See p. 25-26, ibid

[lii] See Jackson, The Machinery of Justice in England, 7th edn.

[liii] Of these actions for seduction and breach of promise have been abolished by the law reform (Miscellanious reforms ) Act 1970

[liv] Hope v great western rail co.[1937], All ER

[lv] QB 273 [1965], All ER. 563

[lvi] See Coroners (Amendment ) act 1926

[lvii] See

[lviii] For more info see

[lix] See

[lx] William Forsyth, History of Trial by Jury

[lxi] See

[lxii]  James Oldham, Trial by Jury

[lxiii] Trial by jury, Lysander spooner

[lxiv] See

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