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A person’s peer is someone who is equal to that person, generally of a similar age, social status, or the like. Peer can also refer to someone in the same profession as another person. For example, many experiments, studies, or articles in certain fields are required to be peer-reviewed to be deemed credible. Rather, the work must be reviewed by other experts in a given field to ensure that its purported results are accurate.  

In a legal context, peer most often refers to anyone who is an adult citizen, such as in “a jury of one’s peers.” Generally, a jury of one’s peers is a random selection of other citizens from a similar geographic location. These individuals do not necessarily share traits similar to a defendant’s. As such, there is no guarantee that those who hear a defendant’s case will be of a similar age, race, socio-economic background, or gender as the defendant, though these traits alone cannot disqualify someone from serving as a juror.

[Last updated in August of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]