The ethical and social principles that guide decision making in relation to the human genome are well known. However, new bioethical challenges are emerging, such as gene editing, which require wider public discussion. One way of involving the public is by a Citizens' Jury. Originating almost 50 years ago, Citizens' Juries involve ordinary members of the public in policy discussions, not in their capacity as service users or consumers, but as citizens. The first Citizens' Jury in the United Kingdom on the topic of genetics took place in Wales in 1997. Whilst the method may vary, the fundamental premise remains the same; that given enough time and support, any person is capable of arriving at an informed decision about a complex policy matter. The defining characteristics of Citizens' Juries are that they are deliberative and inclusive and have an important role to play in addressing the new bioethical challenges that society faces. Complex bioethical challenges require public participation in policy making.A Citizens' Jury involves the public in their capacity as citizens and not as users of services, or consumers, or members of specific interest groups.The fundamental premise upon which every Citizens' Jury is based is that ordinary members of the public, given enough time, support and resources, are capable of arriving at decisions about complex policy matters.The defining characteristics of Citizens' Juries are that they are deliberative and inclusive and have the aim of delivering high-quality citizen input into any decision-making process.The complex bioethical challenges that society will face this century, such as human gene editing, are too important not to involve the public.
- Citizens' Jury
- public engagement