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  1. Can’t we just use referendums and online polling or other forms of participatory democracy to find out what people think?
  2. Why do we need juries to oversee elected representatives?
  3. How long would a Sovereign Jury be convened for?
  4. Would a Sovereign Jury have to agree unanimously to withold consent to an Act of Parliament?
  5. What would happen if a Sovereign Jury did withold consent to an Act of Parliament?
  6. The media are sometimes called the ‘fourth estate’ of government. Don’t they monitor parliament and government well enough?
  7. Would Sovereign Jury service be mandatory?


1. Can’t we just use referendums and online polling or other forms of participatory democracy to find out what people think?

Ballots of the whole electorate are costly and time-consuming and are generally only useful for relatively simple questions.

A major problem with participatory democracy is that it favours the opinions of those who have the time, resources and inclination to get involved with it.  Most people do not want to be actively involved in government or the process of making laws; we want to delegate those things to people we can trust to do them competently and honestly.

We believe  the best way of achieving that is through democratic processes which maximise the public’s ability to hold government to account.

2. Why do we need juries to oversee elected representatives?

Even the best elected representatives cannot be expected to always understand what their constituents want from them or what their best interests are, while the worst can be expected to think only of their own.

3. How long would a Sovereign Jury be convened for?

A different jury would be convened for every Act and, generally, only for as long as it would take for them to hear a summary of the reasons for the Act and the arguments that had been made in Parliament for and against. However, a jury withholding consent would probably trigger a review process and they would probably not be discharged until that was completed.

4. Would a Sovereign Jury have to agree unanimously to withold consent to an Act of Parliament?

There are various possibilities for how it would work – for example, it might depend on the level of parliamentary support for the Act – but our current position is that it’s a question which is best left to the monarch’s discretion. Democratically accountable monarchy

5. What would happen if a Sovereign Jury did withold consent to an Act of Parliament?

The details of what would happen could depend on exactly what other reforms are introduced. Democratically accountable monarchy

We expect there would be a review process, probably under the auspices of the judiciary, to confirm that the picture the jury had been given was accurate. Beyond that, our current position is that it should be regarded as a moment of constitutional crisis where we should feel our way without being bound to prescribed courses of action.

6. The media are sometimes called the ‘fourth estate’ of government. Don’t they monitor parliament and government well enough?

At their best they do. At their worst they collude with what suits their own interests. In between, they can focus too much on what is ‘newsworthy’. They can also be drawn into the political world which compromises their ability to report on it with the detachment of an outsider.

The advantage of juries is that they bring a constant supply of fresh eyes to the process of overseeing the operation of government.

Would Sovereign Jury service be mandatory?

Should they be? We haven’t decided our position on that.

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