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Consultation Papers

Name of organisation:
The Scottish Government
Name of policy document:
The Modern Scottish Jury in Criminal Trials


The Academy of Royal Medical Colleges and Faculties in Scotland thanks the Scottish Government for the opportunity to comment on the Modern Scottish Jury in Criminal Trials.

The AOMRCS has asked for the views of its members whose key area of concern is the exemption of medical practitioners from jury service.  All respondees agreed that it is appropriate to exempt doctors working in the NHS on the grounds that the specific and unique nature of the public service contribution made by them is significant and that there are almost invariably considerable practical difficulties in making alternative arrangements for cover.  Although this can sometimes be managed by appropriate periods of notice and a degree of flexibility in timing of the duties, many doctors perform specialist roles which cannot readily be covered by others. In addition there are significant opportunity costs to the Health Service in having to organise this cover in the event that a doctor is required to perform jury duty and frequently there will be real loss of clinical service provision during the period of jury service. Furthermore patients often consider  the continuity of care  they receive from a specialist or GP who is known to them to be of vital importance to their well being and so any loss of that continuity (e.g. by withdrawing clinicians  from their daily posts for alternative purposes such as jury duty) should be minimised wherever possible.

On the basis of the information presented in the paper we would be strongly in favour of retaining the current exclusions in Scotland.


Copies of this response are available from:

Elaine Charters
Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland
Executive Secretariat
Royal College of Physicians
9 Queen Street

Tel: 0131 225 7324 ext 648
Fax: 0131 220 3939

[11 December 2008]