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18 MarLaw change opens doors for deaf jurors in England and Wales

Deaf people who require the use of a sign language interpreter will be allowed to take part in jury service for the first time, it has been announced.

Before this announcement, laws strictly prohibited anyone beyond the 12 sworn jurors from entering jury deliberation rooms. This is to safeguard against outside influence. It meant that an interpreter would be deemed an unlawful “13th person”, thus preventing those who require their assistance from participating in this important civic duty.

The new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021 announced last week (March 9th) means over 80,000 deaf people across England and Wales can now participate in jury service. It forms part of wider reforms announced that seek to build a fairer justice system.

Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland QC MP, said: “Disability should not be a barrier to people carrying out this most important civic duty. I am delighted we can open up jury service to many thousands more people and ensure our justice system becomes as accessible and inclusive as possible.”

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Article provided by Hearing Link




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