Under the Juries Act 1974, to qualify for jury service, a person must be:
- between the ages of 18 and 70 years old;
- registered to vote in parliamentary or local government elections;
- a registered citizen in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for at least five years since their 13th birthday.
A person must not be:
- suffering from a mental disorder; or
- disqualified from jury service for a particular reason.
When is a person disqualified from jury service?
Certain criminal convictions will disqualify you from becoming a juror. The type of sentence, including the severity and categorisation of the crime, as well as the length of the sentence passed by the courts will determine whether or not you are disqualified from jury service and the length of time you are disqualified for.
You will be permanently disqualified from jury service if you have been sentenced in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man to:
- imprisonment for life, detention for life or custody for life;
- detention during her Majesty’s pleasure or during the pleasure of the Secretary of State;
- imprisonment or detention for public protection;
- to an extended sentence under ss 227 or 228 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 or s 210A of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995;
- a term of imprisonment or detention of five years or more.
You won’t be allowed to serve as a juror for 10 years if you have, at any time in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man in the last 10 years:
- served any part of a sentence of imprisonment or a sentence of detention;
- received a suspended sentence;
- had a community order or other community sentence imposed on you.
You are also disqualified from sitting as a juror if you are currently on bail in criminal proceedings.
If you’re a disqualified person and you fail to tell the court before turning up for jury service, you could be fined up to £5000.
Mentally disordered persons
You are not allowed to sit as a juror if:
- you are liable to be detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA 1983); you are resident in a hospital on account of mental disorder as defined by MHA 1983; are under guardianship under s 7 of MHA 1983 or subject to a community treatment order under s 17A of MHA 1983; you lack capacity, within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, to serve as a juror.
For more information on:
- Lack of capacity
- The right to be excused from jury service
- Members of the armed forces
- Discretionary deferral and excusal