Dealing with jury irregularities
Produced in partnership with Thomas Evans of 3 Paper Buildings

The following Corporate Crime practice note produced in partnership with Thomas Evans of 3 Paper Buildings provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Dealing with jury irregularities
  • What is jury irregularity?
  • Bias
  • Extraneous information
  • Bullying
  • Irregularities identified during the course of the trial
  • Isolation of jurors
  • Consultation with trial advocates
  • Provisional measures to be taken
  • Establishing the facts of the irregularity
  • More...

Dealing with jury irregularities

What is jury irregularity?

An irregularity is any action which may prevent a juror or jury from remaining faithful to their oath or affirmation to 'faithfully try the defendant and to give a true verdict according to the evidence'.

This includes anything which compromises the jury's independence or introduces extraneous considerations beyond the evidence. Other irregularities may arise out of attempts to intimidate or bully a juror.


The test for apparent bias is that set out by the House of Lords in Porter v Magill Weeks.

The test is whether or not a fair-minded observer would have a reasonable suspicion that the tribunal of fact would be biased. The personal impartiality of a jury must be presumed unless the contrary is proved. Unless actual bias is alleged, the court will not undertake an enquiry as to whether or not bias has been established but will concern itself solely with the appearance as judged by the hypothetical fair-minded observer. The trial judges are considered to be in the best position to draw conclusions about the conclusions which can be drawn on the facts and whether a fair-minded and informed observer would conclude from what was known that there was a real possibility of the jurors being biased.

A distinction should be drawn between cases of possible juror bias against a defendant and those against a witness. Where

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