What is a Citizens’ Jury

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DemocracyCo has also run citizen juries on topics such as motor injury insurance, dog and cat management, water management, road safety and governance.

Unlike every other company or 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”; involving design, recruitment of participants, stakeholder involvement/ management, facilitation design, project management, events management and communications.

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. Citizens’ Juries are one way to address this, by incorporating the views of the community into decision- making. They provide an opportunity to learn how the community think about an issue when presented with detailed information about the issue. Citizens’ Juries have been so named because of their apparent similarity to a legal jury, where a group of citizens reflecting a cross section of the public participates and comes to a decision.

However, in many ways they are distinctly different to a legal jury. They do not pitch different sides against one another, and nor do they seek to find a guilty or not guilty finding; instead they rely on reaching a broad consensus among jury members around a series of recommendations after consideration of diverse views. In another difference to a jury in a court of law, citizens’ juries have the ability to incorporate into their deliberations values, ethics, societal norms and trade-offs. This helps to enrich their decision making, and arrive at sensible, logical outcomes. One interesting feature of Citizens’ Juries is that they typically result in considered and moderate recommendations that successfully blend competing claims and help reconcile antagonistic groups.

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