Why does England have “Trial By Jury” and why are we loosing it?

Whilst taking part in a recent Politics Hour programme on BBC Three Counties radio I was surprised when one of us (a barrister) held that the jury trial system was due to Magna Carta, first sealed in 1215 AD. As so often happens the answer to the assertion is important to us today as the country decides whether or not to stay in the European Union.

The Magna Carta

The assertion was not true although it is easy to see how the confusion arose. Article 39 of Magna Carta states “No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.” – See more at: http://www.bl.uk/magna-carta/articles/magna-carta-english-translation#sthash.L95SfHJV.dpuf

However this is a reference to a way of decision making in medieval courts that had long been part of the system not only in England, but also on the continent.

“The voice of a court, whether of a county, a hundred or an honour, was traditionally that of its suitors, who owed attendance – suit – there because this particular responsibility had come to be entailed upon their landed holdings. Their duties included making the judgments of the court concerned”,

and in these courts the more land you held the more “equal” you were. http://magnacarta.cmp.uea.ac.uk/read/magna_carta_1215/Clause_39

English Common Law

In one respect this was the English Common Law at work. Judges originally had been rather like Presidents of a Court and acted much as facilitators of a process until the full flowering of the English Common law started in the 12th century with Henry II. However there were other ways of reaching a judgement and these included swearing an Oath of an appropriate ‘weregild’*, Trial By Ordeal and Trial by Combat. If you did not think your neighbours liked you very much and you did not wish to be at their mercy you could choose one of these other methods, depending on the matter at court and, in the matter of the oath, on the total weregild of you and your mates.

In effect with Article 39 the nobles merely wanted to ensure that the ancient lawful methods were followed instead of King John’s usual ‘plunder’ approach to getting what he wanted.

Trial By Jury

Whilst jury trial was not then used in criminal cases in English courts it had by 1215 a history of use in some civil cases. The Anglo-Saxon Kings in England, particularly the those of Mercia, had a longstanding history of embassies with foreign kingdoms most significantly with the Carolingian Empire in Europe. This ran from 687 AD when Pippin II gained effective control over the entire Frankish Empire until its effective end in 887 AD. From the Carolingians the Anglo-Saxons borrowed the idea of Juries.

“A jury is a body of people that are sworn to account for facts and to furnish courts of law with true and honest information. This idea was not unique to England and was used across ancient empires and within England and Normandy long before the Norman conquest.

At this early time, these bodies were called inquests. Its long history is attributable to the fact that without it, there was no efficient way to collect information about the number of livestock in an area or who owned which piece of land and where the boundary of that land was.”  https://englishlegalhistory.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/history-of-trial-by-jury/  So Juries were used in civil cases. In England the jury of 12 freemen was incorporated into civil law by the Assize of Clarendon in 1166 AD.

Trial by Ordeal

In the same year as the Magna Carta, 1215 AD, the Pope banned priests from attending trials by ordeal. This was a serious blow to criminal court procedures throughout Europe as well as England. Trial by ordeal called on God to witness the outcome of an ordeal – for example  holding pieces of metal heated in a fire in your hands, These were then bandaged up and looked at a set number of days later. If the hand was healthy then you were innocent. Since  it was universally accepted that God’s judgement was at work the participation of a priest was vital. Without the priest there could be no trial by ordeal.

Unremitting Torture

In Europe this led to a very dark period. Europe, following the Roman Law system settled for the inquisitorial system (HP p78: “Law, Liberty and the Constitution: A Brief History of The Common Law” by Harry Potter, The Boydell Press, 2015). In this system the emphasis was on finding the truth, the most convenient source of which was the accused who could be subjected to unremitting torture by experts until he confessed – professors of innocence were not admissible.

The Difference between England and Continental Europe

Following King John’s death in 1216 King Henry III, or at least his counsellors as he was too young, asked the shire courts what system of trial they would like in criminal cases. The courts could have chosen the Roman Law inquisitorial system. After all the only system of law taught at Oxford and Cambridge was Roman Law. Instead the Shire Courts chose what they knew worked and were used to employing – trial by jury.

It is difficult to underestimate the importance of this decision and the means by which it was made.

Henceforth the English would be subject to their Common Law, a system that in essence tells you what you may not do but allows all else, and this includes the future, judged by a criminal court system which put the decision on guilt or innocence in the hands of a jury of people like you. In other words a system that worked to maximise your freedom and their safety  and allowed you to move confidently into the future.

Europe on the other hand was subject to Roman Law a system that in essence told you what you could do forbidding all else,  and this included the future, judged by a court system that could and would put you to unremitting torture until you confessed.

Loss of Our Liberties Under EU Rule and the European Arrest Warrant

But since we joined the EU this English system is changing. There are already calls to reduce the cases in which trial by jury is allowed. One of the cornerstones of our freedom, Article 38 of the Magna Carta is no more. It said “In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it. – See more at: http://www.bl.uk/magna-carta/articles/magna-carta-english-translation#sthash.L95SfHJV.79A0w8Vw.dpuf.

The European arrest warrant does not require either that an offence be committed nor that credible witnesses be produced. It requires only that it is completed correctly. We are back 801 years in the days of bad King John. The protection afforded by the Magna Carta has been given away, or sold for a ‘mess of potage’. The European Arrest Warrant has been sold to us as being essential to control terrorism – a group so protected by Human Rights legislation that it takes years to deport them – whilst entrapping, abusing and treating abominably decent law abiding citizens. Two cases reported in the media will suffice.

The Spectator reported that an elderly couple were returning from a holiday in Europe. When they got to the British customs at Calais they were handed to the French police on a warrant issued by Greece, He was not allowed to see either his wife nor a lawyer. After many months of incarceration in a Greek goal his case came to court. When the prosecution called their first witness the whole court burst out laughing, the witness was well known as a mischief maker. The man was released, with a £45,000 legal bill to pay! No credible witness there then! No justice either.

The second case concerns the family with the young child ill with cancer. They wanted a form of treatment, only available in Europe, that  NHS experts said was of no use and would not authorise payment for it.  When the family took their son out of hospital and decamped to Spain to sell a property they owned so they could pay for the treatment themselves some bureaucrat issued an European Warrant for the parents even though the bureaucrat insisted that no offence had been committed. The Spanish police arrested the parents and put them in goal leaving the children to be cared for by the state. Eventually the whole farrago came to an end. But recently the method of treatment that was deemed so poor is now recognised as a ‘must have’. NHS England that so arrogantly deprived an innocent couple of their freedom is now running catchup. Perhaps in a couple of years or so they will have caught up to where those parents were a year ago.

Even more importantly England will only catch up to where it was in 1215 AD if we leave the EU AND if Members of Parliament learn to protect the rights and freedoms of the people who vote for them and so absolve themselves from their moral failure in this regard.




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Labour’s Flakey Policies; Will They Never Learn?

Labour’s announced policies for their conference starting today are a last ditch attempt to scam you, The English electorate. In fact they are total rubbish and here is why!

Minimum Wage (Or is it)

Ed Balls has said that Labour will increase the minimum wage to £8.00 an hour. But this is only by 2020! With inflation of 3% a year the current minimum wage would be £7.76 by then. So the labour promise amounts to 24p in six years! If you feel you are being scammed you are right to do so.

Since 2010 by 1 October this year the minimum wage will have risen by 10%, around twice the rate at which privates sector wages will have risen. That means the low paid have seen some protection in their earnings.

If you think you have heard this before you have! “The national minimum wage will rise each year between 2010 and 2014 (external website) if Labour wins the 2010 general election, according to Gordon Brown in his speech to the Labour party conference in Brighton yesterday (Tuesday 29 September 2009).” http://www.xperthr.co.uk/blogs/employment-intelligence/2009/09/national-minimum-wage-brown-pr/

If we are going to improve things the English Democrats would consider moving to the Living Wage. A living wage is a wage that is high enough to maintain a decent standard of living (adequate food, shelter, and other necessities). It also takes into account variations in cost of living across the country. It is currently £8.80 per hour in London and £7.65 for the rest of the UK. For more information go to http://www.livingwage.org.uk/

Child Benefit

Labour have come up with a showcase policy to cut the £75 billion budget deficit that Tory economic mismanagement has created. Their policy will, possibly, save £400 million or 5% of the deficit!. What is this cunning plan?

It is a REAL TERMS cut in child benefit. A benefit that is paid to women to help them feed and clothe the children and which is an important benefit to those in the “squeezed middle” and which the highest earners do not get. Brilliant!

[Tweet “Labour’s Flakey Policies are total Rubbish”]

A 5% Cut to Ministers’ Salaries.

Wow! This effort to reduce the £75 billion Tory budget deficit is so small that it isn’t even worthwhile calculating the percentage.

Cutting the Budget Deficit.

How? No word on that. Don’t the People of England have a right to know what expenditures will be cut? And whose expenditures?

England has already seen greater percentage cuts in local government expenditure than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Will the Scots, Welsh and Irish now take the brunt with a 25%+ cut in their grants or will the England’s taxpayers pay up again with the loss of even more of their services and even higher council tax bills?

Let us not forget that Scotland has frozen their council taxes for years but can still afford free prescriptions, free university education and free personal care for the elderly. How does that work?

The English Issue

Labour are desperately trying to create Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) over English devolution by claiming that it is a complex issues that will take years to get right. This is absolute rubbish. Why?

In fact we can give the same, fair, settlement to all four nation and  have an Act of Parliament  put it into effect by Christmas. To see how read my blog “The Only Fair Constitutional Settlement for All, Is the Same Constitutional for All”

What do you think? Have your say in the poll below.


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The Only Fair Constitutional Settlement For All Is The Same Settlement For All!

We must put an end to the outrageously racist approach to constitutional settlements in the UK. I say racist because heretofore any settlement has used racial characteristics like ethnicity or identity for determining who gets what settlement, if any.

[Tweet “The only fair constitutional settlement for all is the same for all. #TeamEngland”]

A fair settlement will be:

  1. straightforward and quick to implement;
  2. it will be possible to state in one bill the settlement that will apply to all,
  3. the matters in the bill must be well defined by existing legislation so that it is simple to put together.

A bill that meets these criteria could be presented to Parliament by the 1st November so that it can be enacted before Christmas 2014. It will raise no new legislative principles so there will already be a vast storehouse of experience in implementation

Only one type of settlement meets these requirements and that is the devolved parliament:

  1. There is already plenty of legislation to cut and paste into a new bill.
  2. Any new powers can be added quickly.
  3. If the government were to ask the people if they wanted a devolved parliament for each of the four nations, each with parity of powers, there would be national acclaim for the wisdom of the decision. People all over would accept it so obviating the need for lengthy public consultations.

In one simple action the issues raised by the Scottish referendum will have been solved. Brilliant!

Having the same settlement for all means that having to reserve days at Westminster for English MPs to discuss English matters will require that we must also have  special days for Scottish MPs to discuss Scottish matters and so on. And that will mean closing the devolved parliaments/assemblies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, a totally impractical idea.

People raise a number of objections to devolved parliaments. None of them hold water. Over the next few I will deal with each of these.

The opportunities raised for all four nations by a fair settlement as suggested here are so important that refusing this option will confirm the statement I made at the start – our political establishment is racist to the core. Do you agree?


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An English Parliament – The Least Cost Approach to Governance in England!

The fact is that some of us English fail to think deeply on important topics, and that some prefer to use the English language to deceive the rest of us, as is shown in the phrase:

“An English parliament would add nothing we need except another layer of politicians in London.”

Let us think about this for a moment. Currently we have 630 MPs and over 400 regular attenders of the House of Lords. A total of 1030+ politicians. Together their direct costs in terms of salary, pension contribution from the exchequer, expenses, allowances, staff costs, office rental costs, subsidies for restaurants and bars in Westminster and so on must be in excess of £250 million – I stopped counting at £210 million.

If we leave this as it is and merely add the cost of nine regional ‘governments’ this cost must soar, probably by another £200 million or more.

So Regional Assemblies will give Total costs of £450 million!

 It is even worse than that. The phrase “Devolution to the Cities . . .” is NOT devolution. Manchester, say, would not be able to create its own tax policy for corporation tax to encourage companies from Burnley to move to Manchester. It would not be able to change its education policy and give free higher education to students from Manchester. It would not be able to change its welfare policies and give free social/personal care to Manchester elderly.

If however all domestic matters are devolved to parliaments in England and Wales then most of the work of Westminster will disappear and so most of the MPs and all of the Lords can dissappear to!

If the English Parliament devolves most of its expenditure to the counties and largest cities (as proposed by the English Democrats) it will need very few members, cost very little, and be able to concentrate on strategic matters to the benefit of England and the People of England.

Regional Assemblies are just another opportunity for vainglorious politicians to milk the public purse. They have two advantages to those who recommend them.

The first is that the gravy trains for politicians, their advisors and civil servants will not only continue, it will increase enormously.

Secondly the policy will allow England to be divided and ruled entirely for the benefit of those recommending this – who are mainly the Scots and the Welsh.

One simple characteristic of a free people is that they are ruled by a state whose shape and powers they have decided.

Poll after poll shows the English do not want Regional Government. Those who recommend it are not democrats but merely self-serving lackeys of the Westminster elite and their hangers-on. They have a deep and abiding contempt for England, the English and the People of England.

With fully devolved parliaments for England and Wales as well as Scotland, if they remain in the Union, almost all the work will leave Westminster which could be reduced in size to a single chamber of 100, at most, MPs. They will be left with the weighty task of attending international conferences on foreign policy, finance or defence.

An English parliament could sit where it is most needed by the People of England – in the Midlands perhaps, amongst the English, very few of whom now reside in London. An English parliament would devolve most of its expenditure to the counties and very largest cities. This would break London’s hold on the rest of the country. It would require less than 150 MEPs (Member of the English Parliament) for its reduced workload.

A small English Parliament and Westminster parliament would ensure a once and for all major reduction of the political classes who could now go and get a real job and stop parasitising the rest of us.

So an English Parliament would NOT lead to “. . . another layer of politicians in London.”

Instead it would lead to a reduction of 830 politicians!

This is a reduction of 75% or £180 million in current costs.

 What is more in practical terms the reduction will be even more. With less to do at Westminster and in the English Parliament members would not need the current levels of remuneration and hand-outs. These could be reduced to the current level for devolved parliaments to give us further savings.

Since most of the accommodation required by Westminster is no longer required some of it could be converted to hotel accommodation for members and thus get rid of members very generous housing benefits. Much of the Palace of Westminster would no longer be required and this could be converted to a hotel and international conference centre. The profits from this could be used to pay all or some of the costs of parliament.

And there are even further efficiencies to be gained. Excess parliamentary staff could be transferred to the English Parliament, there would be no need to hire more people nor to make people redundant.  And the excess of civil servants, no longer needed in London because expenditure has been devolved,  could be moved to the counties to add  their expertise to, the now expanded role, of local governments so reducing the need for new costs.

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The Nasty & Vicious European Arrest Warrant Must Go!

The EU Arrest Warant (EUARWAR) was created in the wake of  of the 9/11 terrorist attack in Manhattan. It was justified as a tool for bringing terrorist to justice.

That is not how it has been used in the UK nor elsewhere in Europe. Only days ago we witnessed a couple, who had committed no offence, put in a Spanish prison and separated from their very ill child as a result of some idiot in the UK issuing a EUARWAR for their arrest. This is not justice, it was never capable of being justified as being inline with the wording and spirit of Magna Carta and for this reason alone it should be abolished as it stands.

Westminster politicians like Cameron, Clegg and Milliband support the EUARWAR because it allows criminals to be quickly extradited and brought to justice. This is of course the sort of half truth that that this merry trio of mendacious pickpockets (its your pocket they pick) assert. It is in fact used to control people’s freedom and the right to free speech by the Politically Correct Brigade, of whom the aforementioned three are the leaders.

This is not the first abuse of authority involving the EUARWAR and its abolition in English law or its complete reform must be undertaken. What form could reform take?

Well first it should only be usable in the case of serious crime having been committed. I would define a serious crime as one where the possibility of a fine does not exist and the minimum prison  sentence available to the judge is 12 months, but perhaps it should be higher.

In the case of financial or white collar crime I would restrict its use to that where more than £100,000 in cash, goods or services has been taken. In all other cases the normal extradition process should be used with the provision that a crime must have been committed.

What would you do?






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Blatant Discrimination Against Immigrants on the Island of Pathos.

Report of the United  Partners of Young & Old Unemployed Radicals on the anti-immigration policy of the Island of Pathos in 2013

Published June 2014 By order of the World Institute of Non-Coercive Employment


Under the direction of WINCE we commissioned the Association of Work Organised Labour to research and report back on the events on the Island of Pathos earlier this year. AWOL are a well respected organisation in this field and employ the latest techniques and quality control procedures for work of this sort The report they made to UPYOURS  makes grim reading recounting as it does acts of discrimination that are so blatant that we recommend that WINCE commence action to stop this happening again.

In order to be fair AWOL chose a comparable island, Bathos, to act as a control. The report follows.


Bathos and Pathos are two similar islands in the Pacific Ocean over a thousand miles from each other and other habitations. On December 31st, 2012 each island had a population of 100 people, all of working age, of whom 10 or 10% were unemployed.

At mid-day on January 1st this year a large helicopter arrived at each island carrying a factory unit underneath each containing the 10 people necessary to operate it.


The Bathosians welcomed the factory and the immigrant workers as an IslandwithLinerexample of sustainable and diverse inward investment that they felt was due to their numerous liberal policies supporting diversity and multiculturalism.

On March 31st the Bathosian economists and sociologists, 10 in all, did some complex and advanced surveys and measurement for their report on the quarterly economic trends, which report they issued on April 5th.

This report showed conclusively how good the inward investment and immigration had been for the economy. Output had risen by 14.3% over the same quarter a year ago, total employment had risen to 100,(this included  the 10 economists and sociologists and the 10 civil servants who collected taxes and produced programmes for the unemployed, the 70 workers, the 10 immigrants but not the 10 unemployed) whilst unemployment had fallen to 9.1% of the total poulation.

Output had risen from 70 in the previous year to 80 in this quarter or from 0.7 units per head to 0.727 per head, a rise of 3.9%.  The additional tax revenue meant that the 10 economists and sociologists could work on preparing an intervention plan for the 10 unemployed out of the total population of 110 to gain the skills needed for working whilst at the same time prepare programmes to increase diversity in employment so leading to a greater likelihood of jobs being made available that the unemployed could do.


Pathos’s approach was, regrettably, quite different. When they saw the helicopter land IslandWithTeapotand the new, extremely skilled, workers  emerge they initially greeted them in a friendly fashion and put on a big feast for them and the crew. However on the morning of January 2nd they accompanied them all back to the helicopter and waved them off.

Faced with the problem of how to get the new factory working the Pathosians merely gave the factory manuals to the 10 unemployed and told them to get on with it. It took them until the middle of February to master the skills necessary and during this time there was much waste of materials and some injuries, none leading to disability or fatality due more to good luck than ability.

Since the Pathosians have no economists or sociologists the 31st March was a relatively quiet day with things going on as usual. They had their usual meeting for all islanders on the 5th of April. This meeting traditionally had to decide how each working islander would help the unemployed. The Pathosians have no taxation since they have the odd belief that the help they themselves give to the unemployed has great moral value whilst paying taxes for someone else to do it for you has none!

It took everyone some time to realise that there were no unemployed and that output appeared to be higher than before, higher perhaps than was necessary so they agreed to make the feast day of the island’s patron Saint a holiday. This is 23rd April.

It is impossible to know what to do with such a feckless people as the Pathosians. As they have no economists we are unable to say what their economic trends are and we have to assume that given the backward nature of the islanders that they will be worse than those of the Bathosians.

Whilst a programme of intervention is being prepared we recommend that we warn our people not to go to Pathos, that we prepare a PR programme using this case to inform our unemployed how lucky they are to be living in a diverse and multicultural society as ours and finally that if inward investment is ever made again to Pathos that under no circumstance should the manuals be included.


T Oser


We at UPYOURS welcome the report and view its publication as the first step in the recommended PR campaign.  We say to the unemployed, “Tell us which island you would prefer to live in?”.

D Ozy


Note to our readers:

From http://www.thefreedictionary.com/

ba·thos  (bths, -thôs) n.

1. a. An abrupt, unintended transition in style from the exalted to the commonplace, producing a ludicrous effect.

b. An anticlimax.
2.a. Insincere or grossly sentimental pathos: “a richly textured man who . . . can be . . . sentimental to the brink of bathos” (Kenneth L. Woodward).

b. Banality; triteness.
pa•thos (ˈpeɪ θɒs, -θoʊs, -θɔs)  n.

1. the quality or power in life or art of evoking a feeling of pity or compassion.
2. pity.
3. Obs. suffering.
[1570–80; < Greek páthos suffering, sensation, akin to páschein to suffer]

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