[EDITORIALS]Importing the jury systemThe Committee for the Reform of the Judicial System under the Supreme Court is reported to be considering adopting the U.S.-style or German-style jury system, under which ordinary citizens will participate.
The committee is also reported to have proposed the introduction of law schools in an attempt to improve the system of training judicial officers. And the committee is reportedly planning to expand the system, under which only those with experience as a lawyer or public prosecutor can be appointed as new judges.
Under the British and U.S.-style jury system, ordinary citizens decide as jurors whether the accused is guilty or not guilty. And under the German-style jury system, ordinary citizens do not only decide whether the accused is guilty but also participate in determining the punishment.
The systems have their good points in guaranteeing the transparency in the justice procedures. If such a system is adopted, it will improve the public trust in rulings and will end the suspicion that judges are ruling in favor of those defended by the lawyers who were once their senior colleagues.
But in the United States and some European countries that use the jury systems, the negative effects are being pointed out. First of all, such systems will benefit only those able to secure excellent lawyers, just as in the O.J. Simpson case.
Considering that Korea attaches great importance to whether other people are from the same hometown or have graduated from the same school or have blood relationship with them, it is uncertain that the jury system will be effective here.
In addition, our constitution stipulates that “all citizens have the right to be tried in conformity with the act by the judges qualified under the constitution and act.” Some analysts are expressing the view that a jury system would be unconstitutional.
The introduction of the U.S.-style or German-style jury system should be considered cautiously. We cannot adopt it only because it is operated in other countries.
As for the other plan, the introduction of law schools will cause no special problems. To prepare for opening of the nation’s legal service market to foreign competition, judicial officers with specialties should be trained in law schools.