However, the BBC has learned that in the last two years the number of hung juries - where no verdict is reached - has more than doubled.
Figures obtained from Her Majesty's Courts Service under a Freedom of Information request show that in 2006 there were 52 hung juries in England and Wales. In 2007, that figure had risen by a third to 68.
Yet last year, there were 116 hung juries - an increase of 70 per cent, and more than double the figure just two years previously.
Jurist Trevor Grove - author of The Juryman's Tale, one of the few books to lift the lid on the secretive world of the jury-room - believes changes in society are being reflected.
"I do think that we live in an era when people are much more nervous about being judgmental," he said.
"In fact, judgmental is used as a pejorative adjective more often than not whereas the generation before mine, and certainly the generation before my parents', were quite happy to be judgmental."
A hung jury is bad for everyone; the defendant faces ongoing uncertainty, witnesses may have to give traumatic evidence again and the taxpayer will have to pay for any possible retrial.
The number of juries that are hung is still only a tiny fraction of the total. Even in 2008, the year in which there was a sudden surge, hung juries represented only 116 cases out of a total of 16,718 that came to court, or just 0.7 per cent...to continue reading go here.