7. A shared responsibility in the administration of justice

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To date, no research has been conducted on interpreting for deaf jurors, as people are not typically eligible to serve as jurors if they cannot understand the language of the court. This chapter reports one aspect of a pioneering pilot study in Australia, which sought to investigate the capacity for deaf people to serve as jurors in criminal court by accessing courtroom discourse via signed language interpreters. Results of an experimental comprehension test administered to six deaf and six hearing mock “jurors” revealed that levels of comprehension between deaf and hearing participants were similar. Thus it appears that the deaf participants were not disadvantaged by accessing information indirectly via interpreting, and could legitimately serve as jurors, although this needs to be further investigated.


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