Trial by jury is today provided for both in NSW legislation and in the Commonwealth Constitution. While the jury is colourfully described, among other things, as a bulwark of liberty, Lord Devlin in his 1956 book Trial by Jury makes perhaps one of the greatest claims of a jury’s importance:
Each jury is a little parliament. The jury sense is the parliamentary sense. I cannot see the one dying and the other surviving. The first object of any tyrant in Whitehall would be to make Parliament utterly subservient to his will; and the next to overthrow or diminish trial by jury, for no tyrant could afford to leave a subject’s freedom in the hands of twelve of his countrymen. So that trial by jury is more than an instrument of justice and more than one wheel of the constitution: it is the lamp that shows that freedom lives.
"Using facilitators in criminal jury trials in New South Wales - undermining 'trial by jury' or the way forward?,"
ADR Bulletin: Vol. 12
, Article 3.
Available at: http://epublications.bond.edu.au/adr/vol12/iss5/3