Deliberation

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Definition

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Description

Legal deliberation is the process in which a jury in a trial in court discusses in private the findings of the court and decides by vote with which argument to agree of either opposing side. As in public deliberation (or "deliberative democracy"), legal deliberation is a form of communication which emphasizes the use of logic and reasoning (as opposed to power, coercion or emotion) to make sound decisions.

In criminal matters, this can involve both rendering a verdict and determining the appropriate sentence. In civil cases, the decision is whether to agree with the plaintiff or the defendant and the amount and nature of the results of the trial.

Typically, a jury must come to a unanimous decision before delivering a verdict; however, there are exceptions. When a unanimous decision is not reached and the jury feels that one is not possible, they declare themselves a 'hung jury', a mistrial is declared and the trial will have to be redone at the discretion of the plaintiff.

One of the most famous dramatic examples of this phase of a trial in practice is the film 12 Angry Men.