If you have ever been involved in a custody battle, hired a divorce attorney, or divided a family estate after the loss of a loved one, you may have wondered why you were denied a jury. After all, juries are available in most criminal trials. Let’s discuss 4 reasons why family law courts lack jury trials, below.
1. Judgments Need to Be Adjusted Far Too Often
When it comes to family court, it would be exhaustive to put every issue before a jury. This is especially true in custody battles where the circumstances may constantly be changing. One party can lose their job. Another party may deteriorate and develop serious mental health symptoms. In fact, there are so many variables at play in these types of proceedings that an immutable judgment from a jury would be absurd.
2. The Canadian Supreme Court Has Not Recognized the Right
There are certainly some issues in family law courts that the fairness and impartiality of a jury would be helpful. Judges tend to think of everything in an abstract and formulaic manner without considering the emotional impact. This is especially true in cases that involve children. Many mothers would like to earn custody based on their emotional value even if they don’t have the large income of the father. Furthermore, some parents may feel that officials were hypercritical in adoption cases on issues that a jury may overlook. All in all, the reason may come down to the caprice of the Canadian Supreme Court and their refusal to recognize the right to a jury trial beyond what they consider to be serious criminal prosecutions.
3. Voluminous Paperwork
Juries are useful for acting as a fact-finder in cases where major factual events are in dispute. Did the defendant rob the plaintiff? When it comes to highly technical processes such as dividing assets and weighing technical factors regarding child custody, a jury will forget too many important details. Since they aren’t getting paid serious money to be jurors, they may have a sleepy and dazed mindset throughout such lengthy proceedings. Most judges would be lost without the exhaustive preparations of each divorce attorney to resolve most of the technical complexities.
4. Juries Cost Money
When you are dealing with regular people versus regular people, most don’t have the finances to pay for a jury trial. Most major lawsuits are against giant corporations and insurance companies. Yet, even these cases and criminal cases are often settled before trial.
In conclusion, although juries are used for determining the facts in serious criminal cases, a judge can handle the technical complexities of family law cases better. When you consider that few cases go to trial in any form of law, the benefits would be limited in any regard.