Jury Service

What is Jury Service and what does it involve?

Jury Service is a request for you to make up a panel of 12 jury members in order to reach a fair verdict on a civil or criminal court case. Trial by jury is considered the foundation of a democratic legal system as each member of the jury is appointed to represent a cross-section of society.

How will I be asked to take part in Jury Service?

The 12 members of a jury are selected at random. You will then receive a Jury Summons informing you of your requirement to attend, as well as the date and time on which your service will begin.

You will not receive any details of the case, or those involved in the case until you begin Jury Service, which is around nine weeks after the initial Jury Summons.

What types of cases will I serve on?

There is no restriction on the type of case on which you will make up a panel of 12 jury members. The cases can be civil or criminal, but no case will require any legal knowledge. The role of a jury is to consider the evidence brought against a defendant and make a decision based upon their own personal view of the case. The legal insights will be provided to you via each side’s legal representative in defence of, and attempted prosecution of, the defendant.

How long do I need to serve for?

Jury service usually lasts around 10 days but can sometimes take longer. If a case is expected to last for an extended amount of time, you will be notified in advance.

Will I be forced to take time off work?

You may be expected to attend Jury Service during your normal working hours. If this is the case, then your employer must release you in order to attend Jury Service or they can be found in contempt of court.

Since 2005, it has been illegal to punish someone due to their involvement in Jury Service. If you have been treated unfairly (such as denied promotion or dismissed) you have the right to challenge this.

You should inform your employer that you have received a Jury Summons as soon as possible and make arrangements for your expected absence from work. This will help avoid any problems for both you and your employer.

I can’t afford to leave work for Jury Service?

Your employer is not legally obliged to pay you whilst you are on jury duty. However, you are able to claim expenses incurred in the course of jury duty such as travel and food costs, and accommodation where necessary. You can also ask your employer to complete a Certificate for Loss of Earnings form, which will compensate you in case of any lost earnings. Be aware that there is a ceiling limit on how much you can claim in this way.

Can I opt out of Jury Service?

If you are summoned for Jury Service, you are legally obliged to attend unless your personal circumstances. If you would like to exclude yourself from Jury Service or your circumstances do not permit your attendance, you must complete and return the form included with the original Jury Summons, stating the reason(s) that make you unavailable for Jury Service.

This request can be denied by the courts, so you may find yourself unable to opt out of Jury Service. If you have received a Jury Summons and do not have an acceptable reason to be excluded, it is legally required that you attend
You may request that your Jury Service is deferred to a more convenient time. However, this can only be done once, and for no more than 12 months from the original date of Summons.

You are also exempt from Jury Service if you have served on a jury within two years prior to the date of a Jury Summons.