Dismissing the Jury
This chapter argues that contemporary debates about the constitution and expansion of mixed courts in Norway reveal a tension in attitudes toward lay participation in the legal system. On the one hand, lawyers and laypersons in Norway evince confidence that professional legal actors can effectively collaborate with jurors to reach verdicts. On the other hand, both laypersons and attorneys worry that when it comes to the prosecution of some crimes – particularly sex crimes – laypersons cannot be relied upon to do justice. After offering an overview of Norway’s shifting jury system, the chapter argues that judicial interventions in the jury system have contributed to its gradual loss of legitimacy. Drawing on empirical research, I argue that critiques of rape prosecutions have both amplified and sharpened the stakes of critiques of lay participation more broadly, though – at least for the moment – mixed courts of lay and professional judges are perceived to remedy the shortcomings of all-layperson juries.
Juries, Lay Judges, and Mixed Courts
ANNA OFFIT, Dismissing the Jury: Mixed Courts and Lay Participation, in Norway, in JURIES, LAY JUDGES, AND MIXED COURTS: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE, 197–217 (2021)