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Complexity and the US Civil Jury

Timothy Cameron
Michele E. Connolly
Publication date: 
Wed, 15 Jul 2009

Are civil juries today incapable of understanding the complex issues presented to them? Are the results obtained through civil jury trials unfair, ill-informed or tainted? Should the United States move instead toward specialized juries, or trial before specialized judges, in place of the present system? 

In attempting to answer those questions, this policy brief describes the current civil jury system in US federal courts, looks at commonly advanced criticisms and defences of the civil jury system, and asks what can be done to address, and hopefully change, any perception that civil juries are not up to the task before them.