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Respecting civil juries

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  • Introduction: The recent pronouncement of the British Columbia Court of Appeal in Johnson v. Laing' represents a remarkable and troubling episode in the historical tension between judges and juries in the adjudication of civil claims. After setting aside a jury's verdict as \"unreasonable\" - something that it has repeatedly affirmed ought to occur on only the rarest of occasions - the court took the further and unprecedented step of remitting the question of damages not to a newly empanelled jury but rather to the original trial judge for assessment. While appellate courts have on many prior occasions substituted their own damages awards for those of juries, the complete exclusion of a jury from the fact-finding process (and the concomitant denial of a party's right to have a civil claim adjudicated by his or her peers) may herald a quickened pace towards the elimination of civil juries. Although such a conclusion might seem unduly pessimistic, when viewed in the context of the de facto judicially imposed ban in the United Kingdom on civil juries in cases of personal injury, the elimination of the right of civil litigants to a jury trial is not inconceivable.

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    Article (Published)
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    © 2005 Russell Brown et al. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Brown, R., & Yahya, M. A. (2005). Respecting civil juries. Advocates' Quarterly, 30(1), 110-136. Retrieved from
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