Investigating impropriety in jury deliberations : a recipe for disaster?
In light of recent case law, this article explores the principles underlying the common law prohibition against investigating into jury deliberations. It considers the effect of judicial refusal to inquire into genuine and serious allegations of impropriety in the jury room and examines the effect of the Contempt of Court Act 1981, s. 8. It proposes that the restrictive secrecy laws be qualified in order to safeguard against miscarriages of justice and to preserve the moral integrity of the criminal justice process. ‘[T]rial 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’. Lord Devlin