In English law
, a special verdict
is a verdict
by a jury
that pronounces on the facts of the case but does not draw the ultimate inference of whether the accused is guilty
or not. It is then for the judge to apply the law and to convict or acquit. In the words of William Blackstone
, "The jury state the naked facts, as they find them to be proved, and pray the advice of the court thereon".
A famous instance was the case of R v. Dudley and Stephens but generally such verdicts should only be returned in the most exceptional cases.
- Lord Mackay of Clashfern (ed.) (2006) Halsbury's Laws of England, Vol.11(3) 4th ed. 2006 reissue, "Criminal Law, Evidence and Procedure", 1339. Special verdict
- Morgan, E. M. (1923) "A brief history of special verdicts", Yale Law Journal, 32:575-592