Subsidiarity and the Criminal Jury

American Journal of Jurisprudence 67 (1):33-56 (2022)


The institution of trial-by-jury is a puzzle in the modern criminal justice system. It has dubious merits as a mechanism for applying facts to law. If anything, it represents a challenge to the very idea that decision-making should be consistent and transparent. Yet the emphasis on the relative ineffectiveness and inefficiency of the jury as a trier of fact may miss the point. The jury does not function merely as a verdict-generating machine, or as a procedural safeguard for individual defendants. It ensures that the local community, with its customs, norms, and ways of life, is not simply trampled upon by a remote federal legislature. The legitimizing significance of the jury, in other words, arguably lies in its role as a kind of law-finder. With this in mind, we may do better to view it, not principally as a liberal institution, but as a manifestation of the principle of subsidiarity.

Download options


    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,766

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

2 (#1,459,347)

6 months
2 (#258,534)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

Survey Article: Subsidiarity.Andreas Follesdal - 1998 - Journal of Political Philosophy 6 (2):190-218.
Against Subsidiarity.Trevor Latimer - 2018 - Journal of Political Philosophy 26 (3):282-303.
The State and Its People.Richard Ekins - 2021 - American Journal of Jurisprudence 66 (1):49-67.
The Federal Condition: Towards a Normative Theory.Nicholas Aroney - 2016 - American Journal of Jurisprudence 61 (1):13-31.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Necessity and Jury Nullification.Travis Hreno - 2007 - Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 20 (2):351-378.
The Jury and Criminal Responsibility in Anglo-American History.Thomas A. Green - 2015 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 9 (3):423-442.
A Defence of Jury Nullification.Thom Brooks - 2004 - Res Publica 10 (4):401-423.
The Jury Between the Civil and the Criminal Law.Paul Robertshaw - 2000 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 13 (3):251-278.
Racial Profiling and Jury Trials.Annabelle Lever - 2009 - The Jury Expert 21 (1):20-35.
In Support of Fraud Trials Without a Jury.Sally Ramage - 2005 - The Criminal Lawyer 156:2-52.