Perspective matters. In the US, we hear a fairly steady stream of criticism of civil and criminal juries. It’s interesting, then, that in some Asian nations, they are experimenting with implementing jury trials as perhaps desirable legal system changes. In general, the proponents argue that juries serve as a bulwark against the government and allow expression of the views of the “common man.” The critics generally complain that juries are too unpredictable and do not understand complex issues.
For specifics, the NYT has a July 18, 2008 article about recent high-speed jury trials in criminal cases in South Korea. The International Herald Tribune also has published an article about the jury trial experiments in Korea, Japan and elsewhere. Likewise, a recent article on Law.com described US lawyers traveling to Japan to consult with Japanese lawyers in light of Japan’s experimentation with jury trials for serious criminal cases. The experiment in Korea with juries for criminal cases also is the subject of Korean law blog commentary.