Lyons Case Study

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In the case of Lyons v Queensland [2016] HCA 38, Ms Lyons, who is profoundly deaf and requires assistance from Australian Language Interpreters (AUSLAN), was excluded from jury duty on the grounds of her impairment. Lyons held that her exclusion from serving on a jury was unlawful discrimination prohibited by the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (QLD) (A.D.A). After being summoned for jury duty, she notified the deputy registrar that she would require the assistance of an AUSLAN. After this request, Ms Lyons was excluded as a potential juror under section 4 (3i) of the Jury Act 1995 (QLD) (J.A) by the Deputy Registrar. The conclusion was that there was no legislation which allowed for an interpreter to be present during the deliberations by the…show more content…
Reinforced by the lack of an establishment allowing for an oath to be administered to an interpreter, or prohibition against an interpreter requesting disclosure of jury information. This was reinforced by Section 70 of the J.A which identifies the presence of another person in the room, as an irregularity which could vitae the verdict. The presence of a 13th person is an incurable irregularity and cannot be allowed despite any impairment that a person on the panel may have under Section 50 of the J.A. Further, there was no basis in statute to administer an oath to an interpreter assisting a juror by the Oaths Act 1867. A prohibition on seeking disclosure jury deliberations in the Jury Act would also not apply to an AUSLAN interpreter. The plurality held that the decision of the deputy registrar to exclude Ms Lyons from juror duty was not unlawful under the A.D.A 1991 and instead vetoed the contention that the disclosure or jury contemplations to an interpreter was lawful. The argument was based on the phrase “perform the functions of a juror” included in Section 4 (3L) of the J.A 1995. Additionally, the plurality also rejected the appellant’s contention that Section 54 (1) of the J.A 1995 extended a grant of leave to an AUSLAN. Section 54 (1) of the J.A only allows for the officer of the court
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