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The New Saiban-in (Lay Judge) System and Its Effect on the Working Environment

January 27, 2009

By Yoshihiro Takatori, Setsuko Ueno, Chie Miura, Eiko Shibasaki & Marjorie Culver

On May 21, 2009, a new criminal trial system, the saiban-in (lay judge) system is scheduled to commence in Japan, pursuant to the Act Concerning Participation of Lay Judges in Criminal Trials enacted in May of 2004. The type of jury trial that will start under this new system is a mixed-jury system, where professional judges and Japanese citizens participate together in the jury deliberation. This new system is being introduced to obtain Japanese citizens further understanding and trust in the judicial system by involving them in the criminal trial system. This change in criminal procedure will not only affect the individual citizens who would be the potential lay judges themselves, but is also expected to affect the workplace.

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