Advisory Jury Law and Legal Definition

Advisory jury means a jury that gives recommendations to a judge but does not deliver final judgment. It is usually selected to hear a case when the parties have no right to a jury trial. Findings of an advisory jury are, of course, merely advisory. A trial court must make its own findings and review on appeal as if there had been no verdict from an advisory jury. While a district court may exercise its discretion to accept or reject the advisory jury's verdict, the advisory jury's decision is not binding on the district court and the district court has the ultimate responsibility for deciding the case's legal and factual issues.

An advisory jury is one in name only, since it is not the arbiter of the facts. Its "advice" can be disregarded with impunity. The sole responsibility for the entire trial, including finding the facts and making the decree, remains with the trial court. Indeed, there is no point in impaneling such a jury unless the trial court anticipates that its "advice" will be useful. The effect of an advisory jury's "advice" upon the mind and heart of a trial court is known to omniscience, but the court must decline to review assignments of error directed to an advisory jury. [In re Estate of Matsas, 46 Wn.2d 266 (Wash. 1955)]