There has been concern for some time that modern jury directions have become too complex, resulting in longer trials, and successful appeals against conviction. It is also said that judges too rarely use modern means of communicating with juries, and that there is a better way forward.
It must be said that the position in Australia seems to be far worse, in this regard, than in other comparable jurisdictions. A comparative analysis of the length of jury directions, and the extraordinary manner in which they are delivered, bears this out.
This discussion will focus upon the problem of undue complexity, unnecessarily lengthy trials, and how best to preserve the institution of trial by jury in serious criminal matters.
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