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Jurors' French oath to be ditched

Jurors' French oath to be ditched

Monday 16 September 2019

Jurors' French oath to be ditched

The oath taken by jury members in criminal trials is set to be made "shorter, more succinct" and be read out in English - repealing a custom that goes back 150 years.

The current oath is contained in the French language Loi (1864) which will be repealed by The Criminal Procedure (Jersey) Law 2018, if Home Affairs Minister Constable Len Norman's recommendation is approved.

The oath currently in use roughly translates as, “You swear and promise before God that you will well and faithfully report to the Court what you conscientiously believe concerning the crime whereof ............ is accused, namely whether he/she is guilty or innocent, whether he/she should be convicted or discharged, which you will do without favour, hatred or partiality, as you will answer to God at your peril.”


Pictured: The proposals have been put forward by Constable Len Norman, the Home Affairs Minister.

If the Draft Criminal Procedure (Form of Oath) (Jersey) Regulations 201- are adopted by the States, the oath will be replaced by – “I swear by almighty God that I will faithfully try the defendant and give a true verdict according to the evidence.”

As is the case now, a juror will still be able to chose to affirm rather than swear.

States Members will debate the proposals on 22 October. If approved, the changes will come into effect on 31 October 2019.

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