Relying on Luck

Neil Duxbury

in Random Justice

Published in print July 1999 | ISBN: 9780198268253
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683466 | DOI:
Relying on Luck

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Randomization rests at the heart of the Anglo-American jury system. Apart from jury selection, and leaving aside the fact that lotteries are often used for the purpose of raising state revenue, there appear to be no other areas of social life in which sortition is the preferred method of reaching decisions or allocating tasks and resources. This chapter argues that the blindness of the lottery does not have to be viewed entirely negatively. But it also illustrates how random selection might be unintentionally compromised by citing a number of court cases. Random selection is intended to provide defendants and litigants with the opportunity to be tried by a representative cross-section of the population. The issue is whether juries ought ideally to be cross-sectionally or proportionally representative — whether fairness requires that all citizens be equally eligible for jury duty or that there should be demographic balance in the jury rolls. The basic point of this chapter has been to try to identify the primary advantages of chance and randomization (and hence, luck) for social decision-making purposes.

Keywords: randomization; luck; chance; sortition; random selection; jury selection; lotteries; court cases; jury duty; decision-making

Chapter.  25907 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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