Virtual Course on Trial by Jury

The tradition on which judicial systems in Latin America were built has made the judiciary appear to be a closed cloister that even uses its own language, distancing it from members of the general public.

This has led to a very negative view of the system’s efficiency and transparency and has caused some judicial decisions to be scrutinized by public opinion. This is linked to the fact that public participation has historically been prevented in every decision-making space related to the judiciary, ranging from the appointment of judges and officials to direct access to the system and decisions and even the interpretation of sentences.

As such, this course is designed to understand the importance of the jury in the democratic system and appreciate the various ways in which that contribution has been implemented in different regions around the world. It also analyzes the characteristics and differences between models of juries adopted in different places in order to propose a critical assessment of each system’s advantages and disadvantages.
General objective

To understand the importance of the jury in the democratic system and analyze how it has been implemented in different contexts.

Specific Objectives:
  • To identify the main differences between the judicial systems that do and do not include citizens in decision making.
  • To identify the different judicial systems that allow citizens to participate in decision making and understand those diverse systems to ensure participation that protects the rights of individuals or minorities.
  • To identify the jury as an expression of democratic and horizontal systems in contrast to systems without juries.
Module 1: Models of Trial by Jury
  • The origin of trial by jury
  • Adversarial and inquisitorial proceedings
  • Models of trial by jury
  • Voluntary courts
  • Juries with fewer than 12 members
  • The Brazilian jury model
  • Decision-making
  • The composition of the jury
  • Analysis of arguments against the use of juries
Module 2: The jury selection hearing
  • Case theory
  • The jury selection hearing (voir dire)
  • Ideological approaches to the jury selection hearing
  • The de-selection system
  • Impartiality as a goal
  • Jury contamination due to external factors
  • Legal requirements for participating on a jury
  • Unanimity as a complement to impartiality
Module 3: Deliberation
  • Phases of instructions
  • Evidence
  • Jury questions
  • Deliberation models
  • The requirement of unanimity
  • The hung jury
  • The verdict form
Module 4: Overseeing the jury’s verdict
  • Broad interpretation of oversight of the verdict
  • Pretrial hearings
  • Voir dire
  • Objections
  • Instructions
  • Unanimity
  • The judge’s oversight of the trial
  • Control via appeals
  • International criminal case law
The suggested course calendar is presented below:
  • Introduction to the e-learning platform: September 6 to 12
  • Module 1: September 13 to 19 (contents + evaluation)
  • Module 2: September 20 to 26 (contents + evaluation)
  • Module 3: September 27 to October 3 (contents + evaluation)
  • Module 4: October 4 to 10 (contents + evaluation)
  • Final paper: October 11 to 24 (5 to 10 pages)
  • Grades and certification: October 25 to November 5

The above notwithstanding, the instructor will publish the course contents and information about the assessments and final paper on the first day of the course (24 hours). This will allow students to adjust the course activities to their personal and professional schedules.

Students should complete the multiple choice assessments upon completing each module. Students should complete the final paper after finishing 4 modules and the respective assessments.

Each assessment has 10 questions and 1 point will be awarded per question. The maximum score is thus 10 points. The final paper will be graded as “fail,” “pass” or “outstanding” based on the evaluation guidelines that will be distributed in advance.
The cost of the course is US$100 (one hundred US dollars).

Once you have registered using the electronic form, you will receive an email with payment instructions. You will have two payment options:
  • Payments completed outside of Chile: Online payment using a link to a credit card in dollars.
  • Payments completed within Chile: Online payment using Red Compra or a credit card.
Discounts

• Individual early registration:* 25% discount (final price of US$75)
• Group early registration:* 40% discount (final price of US$60)
• Institutions 50% discount (final price of US$50)

*Through July 31, 2021.

** 4 or more people.

*** 10 or more people.

Legal professionals who work in government institutions and focus on teaching or practice law, public officials and judicial assistants who work in the courts, prosecutors, and individuals who work in similar institutions.
Students who wish to receive virtual certification for the course may do so if they have passed the assessments at the end of each module and the final paper.

The certification will be granted for 48 classroom hours. The certification will only be distributed digitally and will indicate the dates of the course and whether or not the student passed the course. It will also describe the course contents.

Students who earn an average grade of 70% on the assessments for each module and pass the final paper will pass the course. Certificates will differentiate between students who have passed and outstanding students:
  • Average grade of 7 to 8.9 on the assessments and paper assigned grade of “pass” or “outstanding”: Pass.
  • Average grade of 9 to 10 on the assessments and paper assigned grade of “outstanding”: Outstanding.
For more information, contact to Ananias Reyes ananias.reyes@cejamericas.org