Journal Article

Does Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights Require Reasoned Verdicts in Criminal Trials?

Paul Roberts

in Human Rights Law Review

Volume 11, issue 2, pages 213-235
Published in print June 2011 | ISSN: 1461-7781
Published online March 2011 | e-ISSN: 1744-1021 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hrlr/ngr003
Does Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights Require Reasoned Verdicts in Criminal Trials?

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This article revisits the controversial question whether Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights requires juries to give reasoned verdicts in criminal trials, in the light of the recent decision of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Taxquet v Belgium (2010). On the face of it, Taxquet reiterates the orthodox position elucidated in previous Strasbourg jurisprudence: the traditional common law jury delivering unreasoned general verdicts is in principle compatible with the right to a fair trial guaranteed by Article 6. On closer examination, however, the Grand Chamber's Judgment contains remarks and suggestions that could be construed as more threatening to the long-term future of the common law jury as it currently exists in the United Kingdom and in other Council of Europe member states. This realisation prompts broader critical reflections on: the authority and competence of the European Court of Human Rights; alternative approaches to interpreting Strasbourg jurisprudence and mediating its impact on domestic law; and the rationality and legitimacy of unreasoned jury verdicts in criminal adjudication.

Keywords: fair trial; reasons for decisions; jury verdicts; human rights in criminal procedure; comparative legal method; Article 6 European Convention on Human Rights; Taxquet v Belgium

Journal Article.  11425 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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