Citizens' Jury

We are Citizens' Jury experts. Unlike every other organisation in Australia that runs citizens juries (and other deliberative processes involving random selection), we are the only company who are experienced and able to run the entire process from “end to end” internally.

What is a Citizens’ Jury?

Decision-making about complex problems is often dominated by experts and special interest groups, with processes that don’t encourage the participation of the general public.

A Citizen jury is one way to address this by incorporating the views of the community into decision-making. Citizens’ juries provide an opportunity to learn how the community think about an issue when presented with detailed information about the matter. democracyCo are Citizens’ Jury Consultants.

Citizen juries have been so named because of their apparent similarity to a legal Jury in Australia, where a group of citizens reflecting a cross section of the public comes to a decision. However, in many way a citizens’ jury is distinctly different to a legal Jury. 

Citizens’ juries do not pitch different sides against one another, do not rely on a consensus among Jury members and rather than a guilty or not guilty finding, the Citizens Jury proposes a series of recommendations, considering how different points of view might best be combined.

In another difference to a Jury in a court of law, A citizens jury has the ability to incorporate into their deliberations values, ethics, societal norms and trade-offs. This helps to enrich the citizens’ jury decision making, and arrive at sensible, logical outcomes.

One interesting feature of a citizens’ jury is that they have typically resulted in considered and moderate recommendations that successfully blend competing claims and help reconcile antagonistic groups.

One interesting feature of a citizens’ jury is that they have typically resulted in considered and moderate recommendations that successfully blend competing claims and help reconcile antagonistic groups.

A citizens’ Jury:

  • brings together a representative sample of randomly chosen citizens that matches a profile of the community at large using selected criteria;
  • provides a forum in which the Jury can consider how best to deal with an issue of public importance;
  • takes place over a number of days during which the Citizens Jury is given detailed balanced information about the issue, hears a wide range of views from expert presenters (or ‘witnesses’), and is able to question the presenters as well as seek out any additional information they might want;
  • is organised in consultation with an advisory committee (and sometimes an additional stakeholder reference group), which is responsible for ensuring the integrity and credibility of the project and the high quality of witnesses, as well as the ‘take-up’ of Citizens’ Jury recommendations;
  • has a specialist facilitator who supports the Citizens’ Jury by managing group dynamics to ensure that everyone has a fair say, the Jury gets the information it needs and that it fulfils its terms of reference;
  • deliberates in a variety of formats such as small group discussion, brainstorming, consensus building and full Citizens’ Jury deliberation; and
  • concludes with the Citizens ‘Jury preparing a report which records its recommendations and any dissenting points of view

Get Involved

Are you interested in how our democracy works? And want to help be part of making it work better? Register to be part of our Deliberative Army, all committed to working with government to develop public policy.