Non-jury fraud trials back on the agenda

Link: Profile: Robert Wardle, head of the Serious Fraud Office.

The controversial move could be revived in the next few months, the attorney-general Lord Goldsmith told the Financial Times.

Consultations on non-jury trials could be issued by the end of the year, he said.

In an interview with Accountancy Age earlier this year, Robert Wardle, head of the Serious Fraud Office, said he was in favour of non-jury trials and also suggested two alternative models: the use of special juries or a judge sitting with assessors.

Lord Goldsmith said the use of expert assessors such as accountants and actuaries raised issues about whether it was practical and whether the people can be found to do it.

But he did say that the status quo would need to change.

Jury trials are supported by many in the profession, who believe they underpin the basic right to a fair trial.

But complex fraud trials are a problem because of their duration and because of the sheer volume of evidence involved.

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