In the last decade in New South Wales, there have been a number of challenges to ‘unreasonable’ jury verdicts. As a consequence, the role of juries in defamation trials has recently been questioned in some quarters. This paper argues that juries themselves are not the problem. Given the centrality of the ‘ordinary, reasonable reader’ to defamation law, juries, embodying the ‘ordinary, reasonable reader’, play an important role, representing community values and understanding in defamation litigation. Rather, the complex principles and procedures which have developed around defamation law are the real problem. The solution is not the abolition of juries but the reform of defamation law and practice.
David Rolph [SSRN] Are Juries Necessary? The Role of Juries in Defamation Trials
David Rolph (University of Sydney – Faculty of Law) has posted a new article on SSRN: Are Juries Necessary? The Role of Juries in Defamation Trials, (Precedent, No. 92, pp. 10-14, 2009 /Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 09/66). Here is the abstract: