I'd like to thank the committee for the invitation to provide evidence today about my research on the impact of jury service on members of the public. In these opening remarks, I'll provide the committee with some background on the perception of the issue in England and Wales, my research with jurors on this specific issue, a brief summary of those research findings, and information on the new criminal procedure rule introduced in England and Wales as a result of this research.
As director of the UCL jury project, I have been conducting research with jurors in England and Wales since 2002. My research is conducted only with actual jurors at court. I do not use students or other members of the public as proxies for jurors. My evidence today is drawn from immediate post-verdict surveys that I conduct with large numbers of juries before they leave court.
The impact of jury service on members of the public has been raised as an issue in England and Wales for a number of reasons. There have been a number of cases in recent years where jurors have publicly expressed concerns about the impact of jury service after a trial. These jurors have said that they were finding it difficult to cope, because they were not able to talk about the case to anyone when it was over. This clearly indicated that jurors were confused about the rules on disclosing their experience of jury service. Another factor here is the recent increase in sexual offences cases being tried by juries. Ten years ago, sexual offences made up less than a quarter of offences tried by juries in England and Wales. Today this has increased to over a third.
I think it might be helpful at this point to explain a few aspects of jury service in England and Wales. A quarter of a million people do jury service in England and Wales every year. We no longer have anyone who is excused as of right. We use a process of random selection, from initial summoning through to the final empanelling of a jury. We do not use voir dire or peremptory challenges. My research has shown that this produces a group of jurors at each crown court who are remarkably representative of their local population. This is important in relation to the impact of jury service on the public, as our jurors encompass an extremely wide range of individuals.
Until last year, the approach to providing juror support and aftercare was mostly passive. Leaflets were left for jurors at court explaining how to contact the Samaritans if they wanted to discuss how they were feeling. The Samaritans is a non-governmental, voluntary organization that provides confidential support 24 hours a day across the U.K. via a free phone line. In some exceptionally difficult cases, judges on their own initiative have arranged for a team of Samaritans to meet with jurors at the start or end of a case to explain what support was available.
In 2016 I was asked by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales to assess the following issues: juror understanding of their legal responsibilities, which included juror understanding of rules on disclosing cases both during and after trial; the impact of jury service on those who serve on juries; and juror demand for support and aftercare. I'm happy to share some of the main findings of this research with the committee today. I should say that these are unpublished findings, but they will be published later this year.
The first main finding was that a large proportion of jurors were clearly confused about what they could talk about, with whom and when, both during and after the trial. This was producing unnecessary stress for jurors.
The second main finding was that the overwhelming majority of jurors who served on a jury found jury service to be a positive, not negative, experience. When asked to describe their experience of jury service, the highest results were for such positive descriptions as educational, interesting, and informative. The lowest results were for such negative descriptions as depressing, confusing, boring, and worrying. Only a minority said the experience was stressful.
The third main finding was that only a very small proportion of jurors said they would contact the Samaritans to discuss how they were feeling about jury service. Many jurors thought the Samaritans was only for people who were suicidal. However, it was clear that, if the Samaritans could be used as a juror helpline, almost half of jurors said they would or might call it to discuss things like how jury service was affecting their lives, how to deal with problems with other jurors, and to ask for information about the legal rules they needed to follow.
Based on this research, a new juror notice was designed and tested with a large number of juries in England and Wales over an eight-month period. This is the document called, “Your legal responsibilities as a Juror”, which I think the committee has a copy of. You will see that this document sets out clearly the two main rules for jurors on discussing cases, and it also includes information on what jurors can do if they feel they need any support as a result of doing jury service.
My research found that this notice dramatically improved jurors' understanding of what they can and cannot do, whom they can talk to about what and when, both during and after the trial. This notice was also widely welcomed by jurors themselves. As a result, a new criminal procedure rule was enacted in England and Wales in July 2017 requiring that this notice be given to each sworn juror by the judge at the start of every jury trial.
Finally, I would like to say something about the need to get the balance right on this issue.
Jury service is an important public service. Governments need to understand the impact of jury service on members of the public to ensure that proper steps are taken to help jurors in need of support, but this should be done and understood in the context of the overwhelmingly positive effects of jury service on the vast majority of members of the public who serve on a jury.
Many members of the public are initially unhappy or reluctant about being summoned for jury service, but in England and Wales, we found that 81% of people who served on a jury said, at the end of their jury service, that they would be happy to serve again if summoned.
There is also some evidence that jury service could have far-reaching, positive effects on civic life in general. There is some research from the United States that shows that jurors who had never voted before were more likely to vote at the next election after they had served on a jury.
The evidence from England and Wales indicates that we should not exclude more people from jury service out of fear of the impact of serving. Instead, we need to find the best ways of ensuring that jurors clearly understand the rules of jury service and can easily access support available to them. This will enable more people to be empowered by jury service and not negatively affected by it.
Thank you, and I'd be happy to answer any questions the committee may have.
I'm Doug Morton. I'm the director of government relations for the CSA Group, and with me is Candace Sellar, program manager of our worker and public safety standards development group. It's a pleasure and honour for Candace and I to be here today, and we appreciate the opportunity to address the committee on this very important topic.
The CSA Group is the largest standards development organization in Canada, and in 2019 we will celebrate 100 years of serving Canadians and others around the world. Our more than 3,000 standards span a range of sectors, including public and worker safety, health care, infrastructure, petroleum and natural gas, and climate change. We are accredited in Canada by the Standards Council of Canada, and in the United States by the American National Standards Institute.
As this committee noted in its November 9, 2017, news release, and as you've heard from various witnesses, serving on a jury can be stressful, but knowledge of those stresses in Canada is somewhat limited. The CSA Group does not purport to be an expert in juror stress. However, we have developed standards, and continue to develop new standards, related to psychological health and safety in various areas, which we thought may provide the committee some examples of best practices, something we believe you're interested in.
I'll now hand things over to Candace, who will provide you with more detail, and we'll be happy to answer any more questions following our presentation.
In 2006, CSA Group published a national standard of Canada entitled Z1000 Occupational Health and Safety Management that is used by many jurisdictions across Canada. This standard defines occupational health and safety as the promotion in the workplace of the physical, mental, and social well-being of workers, and the protection of workers from, and the prevention of, workplace conditions and factors adverse to their health and safety. The occupational health and safety management standard provides a model for establishing, implementing, and maintaining an occupational health and safety management system. Such a system increases awareness of health and safety, and encourages a more systematic approach to meeting defined health and safety objectives.
The CSA Z1000 standard was utilized as a model framework when, in 2011, CSA Group and the Bureau de normalisation du Québec were contracted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada to develop a standard to address psychological health and safety in the workplace. The project was funded in part by the Government of Canada through Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Health Canada, and the Public Health Agency of Canada, as well as through a financial contribution from the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace and Bell Canada.
This internationally renowned national standard of Canada was published in 2013 and was entitled Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace—Prevention, promotion and guidance to staged implementation. The standard provides a set of voluntary guidelines, tools, and resources intended to guide organizations in promoting mental health and preventing psychological harm in the workplace. It has been downloaded more than 42,000 times since its publication, and it is currently being considered as a seed document by the International Organization for Standardization for the development of an international standard on this very important topic.
The psychological health and safety in the workplace standard includes information on topics such as identification of psychological hazards, assessment and control of the risks associated with hazards that can't be eliminated, implementation of practices that support and promote psychological health and safety, growth of a culture that promotes psychological health and safety, and implementation of systems of measurement and review to ensure sustainability of the overall approach.
The psychological health and safety standard provides information to help organizations implement key components of the standard, including scenarios to suit organizations of all sizes, an audit tool, and other resources and references. To date, the workplace standard has been heavily downloaded: 21% by the health care sector; 20% by the government, judicial, and policing sectors; and 11% by the education sector.
Using the psychological health and safety in the workplace standard as a basis, this month CSA will be publishing a new sector-specific national standard of Canada to be called the “Psychological Health and Safety in the Paramedic Service Organization” standard, commissioned by the Paramedic Association of Canada and supported through funding from the Ontario government's occupational health and safety prevention and innovation program. This standard has been developed by paramedics for paramedics, and it is a truly collaborative and consensus-based product.
There are approximately 40,000 paramedic workers in Canada, making them the third-largest group of health care providers in the country. The unique responsibilities and challenges faced by paramedic workers and the significantly increased risk of exposure to psychological stress are well recognized. The psychological hazards that paramedics are routinely exposed to at work can be acute or chronic in nature and can include, but are not limited to, operational stressors such as trauma, severe injuries and illness, child health crises, death, violence, and threats to their very lives.
In addition, organizational stressors common to many other work environments, such as poor communication, issues related to pay and compensation, high emotional demands, lack of social support from colleagues and management, physical strains, and poor job autonomy can be associated with adverse outcomes. It has also been shown that a link exists between these stressors and the potential development of various types of mental health problems.
These acute and chronic stressors faced by paramedic workers put them at risk for a wide range of mental health issues, including, but not limited to, acute stress disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, anger, and burnout. Such problems can lead to or be coincident with other negative outcomes such as suicide, substance misuse, addictive behaviours, relationship difficulties, and absenteeism. In fact, in 2017, 56 first responders in Canada took their lives through suicide.
This important new standard provides paramedic service organizations and other key stakeholders with guidance on good practice for the identification and assessment of hazards and management of psychological health and safety risks faced by paramedic professionals and the promotion of their overall improved psychological health and safety.
You may have hear on January 29 of this year, the Bell "Let's Talk" program. Moreover, the Rossy Family Foundation also announced a joint donation for the creation of a national standard for post-secondary student mental health, with the objective of supporting student success on campuses across Canada. These organizations have engaged the Mental Health Commission of Canada once again to lead the project, and CSA Group is currently in discussions with them to apply our accredited standards development process to this important new standard. Similar to the workplace standard, this important document will provide guidance for Canadian universities, colleges, and institutes to promote student successes through a collaborative approach to mental health among staff, faculty, and students. It will include guidance on strategies, processes, policies, and shared responsibilities of various players throughout the tenure of a student's post-secondary institution career. It will take into consideration the perspective of the student at various stages of their tenure at the institution, consider and gain input from various voices represented within the school system, and address all key elements of a psychological health and safety management system.
As illustrated throughout this presentation, CSA Group has a rich history of collaborating with government parties and industry stakeholders to ensure that we develop timely, relevant, and impactful standards solutions across the tapestry of sectors that comprise the Canadian landscape, including health care, worker safety, and public safety.
Given the emerging knowledge of the potential negative impact of jury duty on some Canadians, we believe there is the potential to improve the lives of those who are summoned to perform their civic duty by perhaps taking a similar systematic approach to their psychological health and safety that has been embraced by other sectors. While not all hazards can be eliminated from the important duty performed by jurors, a psychological health and safety management system approach could be focused on minimizing risk, addressing early awareness, and ensuring evidence-informed intervention practices and appropriate support throughout the process.
This management system approach could be the basis for a standard or a best practice guide on the psychological health and safety for jurors. If such a document would be a useful tool, and should CSA Group become involved, our accredited standards development process would ensure that a balanced representation of relevant stakeholders would serve on the committee charged with developing such a document, including health and safety experts, mental health specialists, and members of the legal profession.
Thank you for your attention.
Doug and I would now be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Okay. I'm sorry I missed your two other speakers. I could see them on video and I would love to have hear what they said.
My name is Paula Hannaford-Agor. I'm the director of the Center for Jury Studies at the National Center for State Courts. We're headquartered in Williamsburg, Virginia. I'm delighted to be invited to address the committee this afternoon.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the National Center for State Courts, we are a non-profit organization that provides leadership, technical assistance, and research to state and local courts throughout the United States on virtually any issue that state courts have to deal with—criminal, civil, family law, court technology, and my particular area of expertise, jury system management and jury trial procedure.
I want to spend a couple of minutes this afternoon telling you a little bit about research that the national center has done on the issue of juror stress. Some of this is older research dating back to the mid-1990s. We haven't had an opportunity to update that research, but I don't believe the findings have changed in any appreciable manner.
Just to quickly come back, I want to give a little bit of what I mean by juror stress. When we talk about stress in the context of jury service, that can either be good stress or bad stress. One of the things that we know about stress is that it enhances psychological and physiological functioning. For jurors who are coming in and experiencing good stress, this can mean they actually have heightened attention, heightened awareness of the evidence that they're hearing, and of their experience. This is actually normatively a good thing for jurors participating in the justice system.
Bad stress, on the other hand, is stress that persists either for excessive periods or occurs in excessive degrees, and can, over time, result in anxiousness or depression. This type of juror stress is actually a subcategory of a form of acute stress. We're referring to a sudden event that causes an emotional or physical reaction. It's often perceived by the individual as a loss of control over their environment or a loss of predictability in their daily routine. For most jurors, after jury service is over, this heightened emotional or physical response returns to normal. There are usually no severe or permanent effects.
In terms of symptoms of juror stress, typically most are minor emotional symptoms: anxiety, irritation, agitation, sometimes boredom. Not all cases are particularly interesting. A smaller percentage of jurors will experience major emotional or physical symptoms. Major emotional could involve nightmares, feelings of detachment, disturbing memories about the trial or about the deliberations, or depression. Physical symptoms can include nausea, heart palpitations, chest pain, sometimes shortness of breath, elevated blood pressure, headaches, muscle tension, and decreased sex drive.
The study that the National Center did in the mid-1990s found that about 70% of all jurors who report to state courts in the United States—we're talking about 1.5 million individuals annually—report some stress from jury service. Thirty percent reported no stress whatsoever. But less than 10% of jurors reported very, very high levels of stress. Typically, the types of cases that reported stress were capital felony trials involving either a death sentence or life imprisonment; cases involving crimes against persons, particularly children; and civil trials to a lesser extent, typically if there was a great deal of personal injury. Even among jurors who didn't end up on trials—people who simply reported for jury service, but were not actually selected for a trial—about 25% of those reported some level of stress.
What causes this stress? It's important to remember our definition: it's a sudden event that causes feelings of loss of control and predictability. Stress is caused simply by the disruption to jurors' daily routines. The voir dire examination at the beginning of jury selection, in which the judge and attorneys are asking questions that are sometimes very personal, can be very stressful. Certainly the trial evidence and testimony is sometimes very emotional and generates a pretty intense emotional response.
Then there are the restrictions on jurors' behaviour. Jurors are often either sequestered and not allowed to leave the courthouse, or sequestered overnight in a hotel. They are not allowed to speak with family or friends about the trial, and they're not allowed to use tools such as the Internet that they typically use for communication. All this causes stress, and certainly the experience of going through deliberations and coming to a verdict can cause stress.
It's important to realize that this stress is cumulative. It starts just walking through the door in this unfamiliar place, for jurors who aren't familiar with the courthouse, and continues through the trial.
Especially stressful trials are those that are very long, taking more than a couple of days. I mentioned trials for capital felony. Trials that generate a lot of media attention tend to be very stressful. The jurors are actually acutely aware of their own role in the justice system. Trials that involve very grisly, gruesome, or disturbing evidence or testimony are stressful, as are issues or evidence that involve a personal impact or meaning for individual jurors. These are actually quite rare because typically, during the jury selection process, those jurors who have a personal reaction will probably be identified and removed from the panel, so they will not actually be chosen as trial jurors for that case. Also, interestingly enough, boring trials are actually acutely stressful for many jurors.
Typically we try to educate judges on just being aware of what sorts of things can cause juror stress, and things that judges can do in the context of individual trials to try to minimize the incidence of juror stress. For the purposes of your committee, though, I think you're more interested in treatment options after the fact.
In the United States this has really only been done on a pretty ad hoc basis, individually. I was able to catch some of Professor Thomas' testimony earlier, and as she said, sometimes it's just a judge who is particularly attentive, realizes the jurors are having problems, and may suggest outreach. Most courts are not particularly well supported, though, to be able to provide those types of services.
We have seen treatment options along a continuum of how stressful the case was: for cases that are only moderately stressful, one of the things we recommend is just providing jurors with information. Many courts now have brochures on tips for coping after jury duty. They give some information about the value of normalizing their experience and saying, “You actually just experienced a rather stressful event, and because of that you may have these types of symptoms. If you do, these are normal reactions to the trial, and here are some techniques: don't smoke, don't take alcohol, relax, do deep breathing, yoga, exercise,” and things to basically return some normalcy. Those are actually sufficient for most jurors.
We actually encourage courts to have jurors exchange contact information among themselves. Here in the U.S. there are no prohibitions on trial jurors talking with anyone they'd like after the trial, or with no one. One of the things we've found is that if jurors can talk with the other jurors who experienced the same trial, that can be a tremendous support for them.
The two other types of treatment usually reserved for much more serious trials are jury debriefings. These are typically very short group counselling sessions that are held with the jurors usually immediately after the trial is over. Typically they are done with a trained psychologist or some other type of counselling professional, and they're similar to the type of counselling that is provided to first responders—police, fire, and emergency services personnel—after traumatic accidents or events. Again, they are to help the jurors process their emotions a little bit, and then give them some tips for how to manage stress in the next couple of days or the next couple of weeks, as well as some ideas about how, if this isn't really going away, they should probably seek additional help.
In this country, a number of courts have contracted with their local mental health service providers or victims assistance offices to provide these types of services on an as-needed basis. They do require trained counselling professionals.
The other model is simply to offer jurors individual counselling after the fact. The federal courts in this country do this through the federal health and human services division employee assistance program. I'd be happy to send the committee a little bit more information about this, but typically, for anywhere up to six months after the trial, the jurors get an opportunity to visit with a federal mental health professional in an individual counselling situation. We've recommended that states adopt this model. I'm not aware that any of them have done so at this point. It's a fairly new program, started in probably 2012-13, and so it hasn't been widely replicated yet.
Those are all of the comments that I wanted to give, and I'm happy to take any questions.