The Impact of Juries on Damages Awards: Exploring the Legal Connection

Nature has established laws that are difficult to repeal, such as the relation between trial by jury and compensation in damages for injury. One is a necessary result of the other.

It would be morally impossible for a jury to balance the equities and counter equities in a complex case and provide the exact relief that justice requires. The likelihood of twelve men agreeing on the terms of an equity decree is low.

Similarly, it would be impractical for juries to reach special verdicts that encompass the necessary details for the court’s judgment in such cases.

The involvement of a jury in the judicial process is incompatible with tailoring relief to the specific circumstances of the case. Therefore, compensation in damages, except in a few cases of proceedings in rem,, was the only acceptable form of redress in the common law courts.

For similar reasons, issues to be tried by a jury had to be single and decisive. Complexity and ambiguity in issues would lead to confusion and disagreement, and without decisiveness, no judgment could be made.

Such issues could not exist without rules designed for that purpose, which explains the origin of some of the strict rules of common law pleading.

The form of trial by jury, the mode of compensation by damages, and the common law rules of pleading are all naturally and necessarily related to each other as cause and effect.

This is why the Court of Chancery exists. Since compensation in damages is insufficient in many cases, the prerogatives of the crown and the principles of Roman jurisprudence were used to create a court with extensive equity powers for other forms of redress in such cases.