What to read on jury service

What to read on jury service

Not whilst in court I hasten to add.

I’d heard all sorts of things about jury service, including how much time there would be sitting around. Time for reading then, excellent. So I amassed a pile of interesting work-related reading to do. It turned out I was on a case from 11.30am on day one that lasted for four days and was then sent straight onto another one. But there was still a little time before being called each day to get stuck into some books.

Firstly I read Crowdsourcing by Jeff Howe. Clearly I am somewhat behind the times given this was written in 2008 and it felt very dated already given how fast the digital world is moving. As I am a ‘digital immigrant’ rather than being one of the generation of ‘digital natives’ I found it fascinating to read all about how crowdsourcing is changing the way we do basically everything. For some people/businesses/countries anyway.

I also read The Art of Public Strategy by Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta where I work. Lesson learned – why didn’t I read this on day one rather than six months into the job? It links to pretty much all the work I’m doing at the moment as we develop our public and social innovation research strategy.

Finally, I read Using Evidence by Sandra Nutley, Isabel Walter and Huw Davies which is extremely useful and highly relevant to the Alliance for Useful Evidence that is a key piece of our work at the moment. For the last 18 years since I started University I have been reading, writing and thinking about the importance of evidence in social policy, so it was great to return to such a good analysis. It was quite funny to be reading this and then going into the courtroom to work with evidence in a rather different way to how you normally do in research.

I discovered on my return an excellent blog on jury service and what it says about public services from Claire McEneaney at the Innovation Unit.

I certainly found jury service to be a fascinating experience.

It struck me that an ethnographic project following juries would be great to do, particularly when it comes to group dynamics in deliberation. I also noted the lack of women of child-bearing age serving as jurors for obvious reasons, making me one of the only women of my age there. I wonder how statistically representative jurors actually are? Possibly not very.

So in some ways I was a bit disappointed when my jury service abruptly ended, leaving me with a pile of books unfinished and having learned a lot from the process.