This introduction presents an overview of key concepts covered in subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines lay participation in judicial systems. It presents the results of interviews conducted with professional and lay adjudicators in five European countries. These interviews focus on the lay persons' and the professional judges' experiences of lay involvement and their perspectives on how the legal system operates in this respect. Alternatives to lay participation, such as an increased transparency and greater accessibility to the trial of cases, are discussed as well. An attempt is made to establish how far the various legal systems comply with certain democratic values. The type of democracy that is served by such involvement is called 'representative democracy'. The book assesses how far limitations on one aspect of democracy can be complemented by other aspects of democracy that are better served in that country.