A Citizens' Jury is a mechanism of participatory action research (PAR) that draws on the symbolism, and some of the practices, of a legal trial by jury. It generally includes three main elements: 1. \tThe “jury” is made up of people who are usually selected “at random” from a local or national population, with this selection process being open to outside scrutiny. 2. \tThe jurors cross question expert “witnesses” – specialists they have called to provide different perspectives on the topic – and collectively produce a summary of their conclusions, typically in a short report. 3. \tThe whole process is supervised by an oversight or advisory panel composed of a range of people with relevant knowledge and a possible interest in the outcome. They take no direct part in facilitating the citizens’ jury. Members of this group subsequently decide whether to respond to, or act on, elements of this report. The term Citizens Jury was created in the late 1980s by the Jefferson Center in Minneapolis. They had initiated the process in 1974 as a "citizens committee", but decided to create the new name and trademark it in order to protect the process from commercialization. This means that the practice of citizens’ juries has been tightly regulated in the US. Virtually the same process was created in Germany in the early 1970s. The American inventor, Ned Crosby, and German inventor, Peter Dienel, did not learn of each other's work until 1985. Because of a publication in Britain by IPPR in 1994, the process spread rapidly there. Outside the US and Germany, citizens’ juries have been conducted in many different ways, with many different objectives, and with varying success. As with much PAR, there is a great deal of controversy over what constitutes good practice or professionalism in the area of public consultation. Lacking the methodological self-regulation that exists in some areas of PAR, or the legal sanctions available to the owners of the citizens’ jury brand in the US, consultation practitioners elsewhere are free to use almost whatever label they wish, without being limited to the approach taken by those who invented the particular tool. Conversely, many people have used all three elements above, yet called their processes by names other than a CJ, such as community x-change, consensus conferences, citizen’s councils, deliberative focus groups or, most commonly, citizens' panels. Participants role once a jury has taken place varies from nothing, to being asked to help to bring about the recommendations they have made. In July 2007, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that citizens' juries were his new government's "big idea" for allowing citizens to exercise their right to influence policy. Speaking on BBC's Today Programme on 11 July, he said: I’d like to have what are called citizens’ juries, where we say to people, "look, here is a problem that
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