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238 V O L . 7 5 P A R T 2 M A R C H 2 0 1 7 THE ADVOCATE From 1984 to 1987 Mr. Justice Bouck and Professor Ferguson worked together to create a comprehensive book of criminal jury instructions that judges could count on to be legally accurate, reliable and up to date. The book allows judges to pick and choose relevant standard instructions, giving them more time to focus on inserting case-specific evidence into the chosen instructions. One challenge faced by the duo when drafting the book was balancing the two audiences of jury instructions: the Court of Appeal on the one hand, which demands that instructions be as legally accurate and detailed as possible, and lay jurors on the other hand. To ensure that the instructions were in plain language comprehensible to lay jurors, Professor Ferguson worked with psycholinguists and incorporated research on effective communication into the creation of CRIMJI. In 1987 the first edition of CRIMJI was made available and was one of the first books that CLEBC ever published. This created a new product model for CLEBC, which had traditionally provided only courses as education resources for lawyers. Over the past 30 years CRIMJI has allowed experienced criminal judges to put together more organized and comprehensible jury instructions with greater ease. For criminal judges without a criminal law background, CRIMJI has often been an invaluable resource. Many of these judges have told Professor Ferguson that CRIMJI was “an absolute life saver” in some of their first criminal jury trials. Because CRIMJI is extensively annotated, it became a resource not only for judges, but also for lawyers on matters of evidence, offences and defences. “Really, in addition to instructions, CRIMJI is also a set of legal memoranda. Originally, lawyers did not know it would be helpful, but over time I started to run into prosecutors and defence lawyers who use CRIMJI to help them prepare for trial,” said Professor Ferguson. A change that Professor Ferguson has seen in the last three decades is that trials have become much longer and more complex, and consequently jury instructions have become lengthier. Trial judges have to organize more evidence for the jury’s consideration and be sure that the jury appreciates how the legal principles set out in the instructions apply to the evidence. CRIMJI tries to assist trial judges by including tips on how to organize instructions and also by providing a collection of user notes, which are warnings, cautions and alternatives for judges to consider when preparing their instructions. When asked about the future of CRIMJI, Professor Ferguson looked back to when CRIMJI was first published. It was solely a two-volume loose-leaf


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