The Georgia Law Review has published Democratic Renewal and the Civil Jury,. an article that argues that reviving the use of civil juries can contribute to a renewal of aspects of our democracy that have fallen into disrepair. The article was written by Professor Richard L. Jolly of Southwestern Law School, Professor Valerie P. Hans of Cornell Law School, and CCL President Robert S. Peck.

     The article recognizes that civil jury trials have become rare events, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic affected in-person courtroom events. Yet, jury trials remain a constitutionally guaranteed right, one that the Framers of the Constitution regarded as essential. Yet, from the beginning, trusting laypeople to determine the facts of a dispute was the subject of derision by elites. Their critique, however, is misplaced. Juries do a remarkably good job of sifting through the evidence and determining the facts. For that reason, providing an educational outlet for participation in the democratic aspects of the judicial system can help to renew commitment to democracy and its ideals, the article contends.

     The article also offers six steps that should be taken to revive jury trials:

1.  Remove obstacles to jury trials, such as the requirement that a jury trial be requested at the outset, rather than default to a judge-tried case;

2.  Remove damage caps, which revise the jury's verdict to legislatively;

3.  Expand procedural innovations, such as expedited trials;

4.  Ensure representative juries; 

5.  Return to 12-member juries; and,

6.  Adopt active jury reforms, such as providing instructions at the outset and permitting jury questions.