VCE Legal Studies Q&A with Juries Commissioner of Victoria

VCE Legal Studies students participate in Q & A sesion with the Juries Commissioner of Victoria - Paul Dore

On Monday 31 August, our Legal Studies students were invited to participate in a state-wide Q & A live stream Law Talk with Juries Commissioner of Victoria - Paul Dore. The live stream was facilitated by the Law Foundation of Victoria. Our students were asked to develop and submit any questions relating to our Jury System for the Juries Commissioner, prior to the event. So that is what they did! Some of these questions were used in the live stream to facilitate discussion and as a result, our students (our school) received a special mention for submitting ‘fine’ questions (see link below).

This session was a proven success as it gave our students a true insight into our Jury System today and prior to the pandemic.

Here are some of our students’ reflections on the Juries Commissioner Q & A Law Talk session:

The opportunity to hear the Juries Commissioner provided me with a greater insight into the inner workings of the jury system. A highlight came, when the Commissioner answered a question posed by myself, where he described how the jury was not a 'pure' cross-section of society, as those with difficulty communicating in the English language, are disqualified from jury empanelment.

Ryan Borowitz 10B

Today I learnt that you have a 5% chance of being chosen to be in a jury. I also learnt that Juries don't have to give a reason because every time the jury gives a verdict it is also like their reason.

Jonathan Vlamis 11M

What I found interesting about the live stream was that Paul was very open about the fact that he believed being summoned to do jury duty is a ‘right and a privilege’ for Victorians.

Antonia Kalomiris 11F

Juries bring the community into the courtroom so in a way it democratizes the process and allows citizens to participate in that democracy. Through the live stream, I was able to learn about the jury system to a great extent and how the pandemic has impacted the way things will continue to operate moving forward.

Yulia Mocheev 11H

I thought it was interesting when Paul mentioned that our last trial case was in March and due to COVID-19 there are going to be many delays with trials, putting pressure on our legal system.

Ella Salfas 10L

The Q&A with the Commissioner has shown how rigorous the process is and how a small proportion of people actually serve on a jury. I also learnt the logical reasoning behind many processes that a textbook doesn't explain to that extent.

Jade Nicholls 10J

Overall, I found the talk to be very informative. I learnt that there is only a 5% chance of making it into the jury, and when given the opportunity, women are challenged at a higher rate compared to men, despite men making up a larger proportion of the jury.

Sanjana Kansal 11F

I learnt that Paul would be ineligible for jury service for the next ten years because of his current job as Juries Commissioner.

Jay Liu 10H

I found that this presentation gave us a very good insight into the Victorian Jury System. I also found that I was able to link some of the content we have learnt over the last two years in Legal Studies, which was also a great refresher leading into exam preparation.

Peter Brash-Narev 12A

It was more informative than I expected. I learnt that judges can empanel up to fifteen people in trials that are expected to go for a long time so that people can be discharged if there is conflict in their schedule. I also learned that juries can have as little as ten people if people are discharged (in which a majority vote is used).

Catherine Chang 11B

Hearing the Juries Commissioner speak gave me a more practical understanding of the role of the jury and the way in which juries are selected. Hearing an expert in this area gave me additional insight into the Victorian Jury system that went far beyond what I could have read in my textbook. It was a worthwhile experience.

Mia Borowitz 12A

Paul Dore shared an interesting insight into the Victorian Jury system. He provided thorough information and interesting opinions based on his experience about reasons why we have juries and their importance.

Phoebe Lock 12G

Sophie D’Ambrosio
VCE Legal Studies Teacher