The trial of former footballer Ryan Giggs recently ended without a verdict due to a hung jury. In this article we answer the questions: what is a hung jury? What happens when there’s a hung jury? And where will the Ryan Giggs case go from here?

We specialise in criminal defence law and act for clients across England and Wales. If you have been accused of a criminal offence, contact us now for free legal advice.

What is a hung jury?

A hung jury is when a jury cannot agree on a verdict in a criminal trial. In other words, the men and women assigned to the jury cannot decide whether the accused should be found guilty or not guilty.

Does a UK jury have to be unanimous?

Most juries are made up of 12 adults, although members of the jury may be excused due to illness or other personal reasons.

The judge will tell the jurors to come to a unanimous decision. This means they must all agree that the defendant is either guilty or not guilty.

If the jury cannot reach a unanimous decision, the judge may allow a majority verdict instead. This is when most members of the jury are of the same opinion.

The jury will be told what majority is allowed. This depends on the number of jurors. If there are still 12 jurors, the majority verdict can be 11-1. This means that just one person disagrees with the other 11 jurors.

The jury will then be given more time to deliberate in the hope that a majority verdict can be reached. If a decision is not forthcoming, the judge will ask the jurors whether there is any realistic prospect of them reaching a verdict.

If the jury says that they cannot reach a verdict, then there is a state of deadlock. This is what is referred to in legal jargon as a hung jury.

What happened in the Ryan Giggs trial?

Ryan Giggs was on trial for controlling and coercive behaviour and assault.

The jury in the Ryan Giggs trial was reduced to 11 people after one juror was discharged due to illness. The judge directed the remaining members of the jury to reach a unanimous decision.

However, it became apparent that a unanimous verdict was unlikely, so the judge allowed for a majority decision instead. After further deliberation, the jury said that they could not reach a verdict and further discussions would be pointless.

The jury was discharged.

What happens when there’s a hung jury?

When there is a hung jury, the judge discharges the jury and the trial ends immediately. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has a week to decide what to do next. Either, a retrial is ordered. Or, criminal proceedings end there and a not guilty verdict is recorded.

A decision is based on whether or not there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial, and whether it is in the public interest.

If a retrial is ordered, a new jury is sworn in.

Where will the Ryan Giggs case go from here?

The CPS has confirmed that Ryan Giggs will face another trial, with the new trial due to begin on 31 July 2023.

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