Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre

Project Items

Scaling up Juries for Social Justice


Although hundreds of citizens’ juries have now been carried out in the UK, sadly many of them have been attempts by Government bodies to be seen to be consulting the public.

Even if undertaken with the genuine aim of providing a space for citizens to have a say, juries often end up being little more than token exercises.

The DIY Jury model, by contrast, is based on the belief that a proper jury should exist to challenge, rather than rubber-stamp, official decisions.

Long term problems that have arisen in unaccountable bureaucracies, whether they be in the NHS, local and national government or corporations, will only be tackled effectively when citizens can both hold decision-makers to account, and co-produce solutions with them.

Over a number of years the Community Jury Project became involved in several projects that aimed to use participatory processes such as juries and scenario workshops to impact on political and corporate decision-makers more directly.

In the Blackburn and Darwen DIY Jury (started in 2004), jurors chose the subject of young people, drink and drugs for the jury.

Like the Tyneside pilot DIY Jury this process created strong groups of advocates: the jurors felt strongly that their considered recommendations merited attention and responses from relevant decision-makers; they wanted to continue to contribute to bringing about positive social change beyond the period of the jury itself.

Project update

Funding was secured for a further jury process which took place in the north of England and addressed two themes – one being an issue identified by a randomly chosen jury via a DIY process, the other being the future of nanotechnology research.

Download a project report (PDF: 4KB).