What is Special Verdict?

Legal Definition
In English law, a special verdict is a verdict by a jury that makes specific factual conclusions rather than (or in addition to) the jury's declaration of guilt or liability. For example, jurors may write down a specific monetary amount of damages, or a finding of proportionality, in addition to the jury's ultimate finding of liability. In the words of William Blackstone, "The jury state the naked facts, as they find them to be proved, and pray the advice of the court thereon".

The judge forced a special verdict in the famous 1884 case of R v. Dudley and Stephens, which established a precedent that necessity is not a defence to a charge of murder, but generally it is recommended that such verdicts should only be returned in the most exceptional cases.

Special verdict forms are common in civil cases. However, many courts disfavour their use in criminal cases. This is because juries traditionally have the power to issue a one- or two-word general verdict in criminal cases, simply pronouncing a defendant "guilty" or "not guilty." By this means, criminal juries are never required to explain their verdicts. The right to issue a general verdict in criminal cases is thus considered one of the great protections of trial by jury.

Because of the jury's historic function of tempering rules of law by common sense brought to bear upon the facts of a specific case, for this reason Justices Black and Douglas indicated their disapproval of special verdicts even in civil cases.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
A verdict in which the jury gives its findings on factual issues in the case, without necessarily stating which party should win. The judge decides what questions the jury should answer, and the judge can draw legal implications from the jury's answers. A special verdict can provide many benefits in a complex case, especially if one party appeals the judgment.

See General verdict (contrast).
Legal Definition
A decision by jury where the defendant isn't guilty of the charge but is found guilty of a lesser offence or is not guilty due to reason of insanity.
Legal Definition
Practice. A special verdict is one by which the facts of the case are put on the record, and the law is submitted to the judges. Vide Verdict; Bac. Ab. Verdict, D.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
A special finding of the facte of a case by a jury, leaving to the court the application of the law to the facte thus found. 1 Archb. Pr. K. B. 213; 3 Bl. Comm. 377; Statler v. U. S., 157 U. S. 277, 15 Sup. Ch 616, 39 L. Ed. 700; Day v. Webb, 28 Co.nn. 144 ; Wallingford v. Dunlap. 14 Pa. 32: McCormick v. Royal Ins. Co., 163 Pa. 184, 29 Atl. 747.
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
One whereby the jury finds the facts only, leaving the judgment to the court. See 93 Wis. 470, 57 Am. St. Rep. 935, 33 L. R. A. 654, 67 N. W. 16,1132.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary