Major research into how juries reach decisions has found that the size of the jury, the number of verdicts available and the type of majority required may all have an effect on the outcome of finely balanced trials.
The study of Scotland’s jury system, in which cases are heard by 15 jurors with a choice of three verdicts returned by a simple majority, suggests that:
- reducing jury size from 15 to 12, as is the norm in most English language jurisdictions, might lead to more individual jurors switching their position towards the majority view
- asking juries to reach a unanimous or near unanimous verdict might tilt more jurors in favour of acquittal
- removing the not proven verdict might incline more jurors towards a guilty verdict in finely balanced trials