Jury Instructions and Their Purpose
A jury instruction is a guideline given by the judge to the jury about the law they will have to apply to the facts they have found to be true. The purpose of the instructions is to help the jury arrive at a verdict that follows the law of that jurisdiction. At all times, the judge’s instructions are to be given in terms a layperson can easily understand and contribute to the effective administration of justice and public confidence.
The NJI hosts a set of model jury instructions for criminal cases, which were created by the Canadian Judicial Council’s (CJC) National Committee on Jury Instructions. These jury instructions provide judges with standard language which they may use when speaking with members of juries about their duties, the nature of the criminal charge before the court, and the legal rules which apply to the jury's deliberations.
The purpose of the jury instructions is to reduce case dismissals resulting from errors in instructing the jury, making the court system more efficient.
These model jury instructions are set out on the National Judicial Institute website: