A jury panel refers to the group of people selected as potential jurors and from which the jury for a specific case will be chosen. This panel is commonly called jury pool or venire. The general process for selecting a jury panel in federal district courts is discussed in Section 1866 of the Judiciary and Judicial Procedure of the United States Code. The statute directs the jury commission or the clerk to periodically select the jury panel at random from the pool of jurors. It further directs the jury commission or the clerk to post a general notice for the public in the clerk’s office or on the court’s website explaining the jury panel selection process. Additionally, the statute states that for each jury panel, the jury commission or the clerk is to prepare a list containing every person’s name. State statutes may prescribe how state courts select their jury panel. In general, as discussed by the Utah Supreme Court in Meyers v. Second Judicial Dist. Court, statutory provisions designed to combat unfair influences are mandatory while provisions that concern the manner of selection are directory.
A judicial panel is a group of judges selected from all the judges of a particular court. Usually, this panel refers to the three-judge panel that constitutes a federal appellate court in accordance with Section 46 of the Judiciary and Judicial Procedure of the United States Code. Judicial panels are not limited to federal appellate courts. For example, under certain circumstances designated in Section 2284 of the Judiciary and Judicial Procedure of the United States Code, such as when required by Congress, federal district courts can consist of a three-judge panel instead of an individual judge. Another judicial panel is the three-judge bankruptcy appellate panel, which is created by Section 158 of the Judiciary and Judicial Procedure of the United States Code.
Some other uses of “panel” in a legal sense include:
- In domestic arbitrations, “arbitral panel” refers to the group of three arbitrators appointed to resolve the parties’ dispute. In international arbitrations, this group of three arbitrators is called an arbitral tribunal.
- “Panel-shopping” is the practice of selecting the most favorable group of appellate judges to hear an appeal.
- “Panel attorney” is a private attorney, versus a government attorney or an attorney with a nonprofit legal service provider, who the court appoints and compensates to represent an indigent defendant. Panel attorneys belong to a panel of private attorneys who have been approved by the court to have defense expertise.
[Last updated in August of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]