Learning from Precursors, Shaping It from Experiences

Date01 September 2017
Published date01 September 2017
AuthorMasayuki Murayama
Commentary on Valerie P. Hans’s Presidential Address
Learning from Precursors, Shaping It from
Masayuki Murayama
Iam honored to have the opportunity to comment on Professor
Valerie Hans’s presidential address on the jury trial as a legal trans-
plant. In her address, Professor Hans presents a panoramic view of
“the global dissemination of institutions of lay participation in law,”
starting from the newest jury systems in Argentina, going back to
the origin of the jury trial in England, then going on to the dissemi-
nation of jury to English colonies and countries conquered by
Napoleon and to recent waves of dissemination of lay participation
in Europe and East Asia. She also emphasizes important roles
scholars played in international collaborations to understand the
process of transplanting legal institutions, which “in some instances
help to shape political debates over the adoption and implementa-
tion of... jury trials and mixed courts around the globe.” As she
describes, Japan recently introduced a mixed panel of lay judges
sitting together with professional judges. Drawing upon Japanese
experiences, I would like to bring a different point of view to Pro-
fessor Hans’s discussion of juries as traveling legal institutions.
After a close overview of recent experiences with lay participation
in Japan, I argue that countries learn from their experiences, and
Professor, School of Law, Meiji University. My first encounter with jury trial occurred
when I watched The Defenders on the Japanese national TV channel in 1962. Then, I
watched Twelve Angry Men and was fascinated to see how the American jury worked. I
firmly believed that we should have such a wonderful democratic institution in Japan and
did not doubt that people who would watch the movie would have the same opinion.
Much later when I began to teach at a university, I asked opinions of students on jury trial,
after playing the video of Twelve Angry Men in my class. Surprisingly, a majority of them
had negative opinions on jury trial, saying that people would behave like the man who
wanted to go to a ball game. I explained in vain how jury could deliberate in collective
thinking. The students taught me that it would not be easy to bring jury to Japan. But at
the same time, because of these very popular TV series and the movie, jury trial has been
always “there” to think about as a possible element of criminal justice among post-war gen-
erations in Japan.
Please direct all correspondence to Masayuki Murayama, School of Law, Meiji Univer-
sity, 1-1 Kanda Surugadai, Chiyodaku, Tokyo 101-8301; email: masayuki.murayama@
Law & Society Review, Volume 51, Number 3 (2017)
C2017 Law and Society Association. All rights reserved.

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT