After reading the answers from this question, What is jury nullification?, I was wondering if cases of Jury Nullification would set legal precedent within a given jurisdiction.

For example, a legal system with three tiers. a jury-trial found the defendant guilty at the first level, then the case was appealed to the second, where the jury (via nullification) acquitted. Would a similar case brought to the first level have to follow the precedent set by the higher court, or is there judicial discretion available when it comes to case precedent?

  • 1
    I'm not sure I follow. Jury nullification or not, the jury still returned a not guilty verdict. The reasoning for why is just different in a case of jury nullification. The government cannot "appeal" a not guilty verdict.
    – animuson
    Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 22:04
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    My apologies, let me revise the background.
    – Bluebird
    Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 22:26

1 Answer 1


"Precedent" refers to a finding of what the law is. A jury only finds facts, and operates (supposedly) within the meaning of the law as already established. All the jury reports is "yes" and "no" to questions of fact (with some reference to existing law): they do not report, at least in any official way "we interpret the law as saying X". So it would be impossible for a jury to "set precedent" in the case law sense. In a notorious case, they might "set precedent" in inspiring other jurors to act similarly, but this is not enforceable precedent in the way that case law precedent is.

In the US, if the jury acquits the defendant, that is the end of the matter and there is no re-trial. As for the UK, I am not sure but I think that the prosecution being unhappy with the jury's decision does not create an exception to the double jeopardy rule.


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