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The Seventh Amendment


Text of Amendment:

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

In a Nutshell:

The Seventh Amendment requires jury trials in civil lawsuits where ordinary damages are sought.

The Courts of Equity:

The references to "common law" rely on a distinction found in the British court system between suits of common law, which were resolved by juries with damages awarded, and suits filed in the court of equity, which were resolved by judges with action taken to correct an unjust situation.

No Jury for Divorces:

A jury is not required in family law cases (such as divorce and custody cases).

No Consensus Required:

Hung juries are much less common in civil cases because it is not necessary for the jury to reach consensus in order to render a verdict. A simple majority is enough.
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