Jurors may return to Lithuanian courts

Justice Minister Juozas Bernatonis said jurors should not appear in courts across Lithuania until 2019.

“I think we can talk about 2019, in the best case scenario,” Bernatonis said at the government’s meeting. After being endorsed by the government, the concept will now be submitted to the Seimas.

The proposal is that jurors should be present in trials on very serious crimes and corruption cases.

The juror institution was discarded in Lithuanian courts in 1995. Lawyers and politicians have split opinions on the proposal to reintroduce it. Supporters of the initiative maintain that the proposed regulation would boost the transparency of judicial operations, while critics say that jurors are not part of the Lithuanian legal tradition – it was introduced during the Soviet era and should, therefore, be considered alien. Furthermore, some fear that the reintroduction of jurors would make legal proceedings take longer.

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