How is a jury selected?

The jury selection process

All Crown Courts have an official responsible for summoning the jurors to hear a case. They arrange for the jurors’ names to be selected from the electoral register. This is an automatic process, randomly done by the computer at a central office.

The people summoned by the court to attend jury service have to notify the court immediately if they cannot attend. Failure to return a jury summons form or turn up for jury service can result in a £1,000 fine.

Jurors that have agreed to serve on a jury will be expected to attend for 10 working days. If the case should extend beyond the two-week period, jurors are also expected to stay beyond their service.

Where it is known or expected that a particular case is likely to go on for longer than two weeks, the selected jurors will be informed by the courts beforehand.

Jury qualification

Under the Juries Act 1974, to qualify for jury service you must be:

  • aged 18-70;
  • registered to vote;
  • resident in the UK, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for at least five years since their 13th birthday;
  • not mentally disordered or disqualified from jury service.

You will be permanently disqualified from jury service if you have been sentenced to:

  • life imprisonment;
  • imprisonment or detention for public protection;
  • an extended sentence;
  • five years or more prison or detention.

You won’t be allowed to serve as a juror for 10 years if at any time in the last 10 years you have:

  • served a prison sentence;
  • 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 this and turn up for jury service, you could be fined up to £5000.

Vetting

The parties to any jury trial have the right to look at the panel list from which the jury in their trial will be chosen. This allows them to make enquiries about panel members and decide whether any should be challenged.

Routine police checks

A Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check is automatically carried out on each juror to ensure there is no disqualified juror sitting in the jury.

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For more information on:

  • Authorised jury check
  • Jury selection
  • Paying the talesman
  • Challenging the jury
  • To the array
  • For cause
  • Prosecutions right to stand by jurors