Failure to Attend Jury Service
Everyone that is between the ages of 18 and 70 who appears on the electoral register is eligible for jury service. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 enshrined in law that anyone that is eligible for jury service must attend unless they can show evidence that explains why they can’t be a juror on the current case, or a juror in the future. Permanent exclusion can be applied for, but you must produce evidence to support your argument.
Failing to Attend Due to IncapacityIt is your responsibility while you are a serving jury member to make sure you are at the court on time when your jury is sitting, or so you can wait to see if you are picked for jury duty. You must also ensure you are not under the influence of drugs or drink. If you are, you could be fined up to £1,000.
If you to have a prior commitment you can apply for your jury service to be deferred. You can only apply for this once and the deferment can only last for up to one year. You can also apply to be excluded from this current or future jury service. To do this you need to respond to the letter you were sent about your jury service from the Jury Central Summoning Bureau giving details about why you can’t be a member of a jury. If you live in Northern Ireland, you need to contact the Jury Management Team on 028 7126 1329. And in Scotland you can contact civil jurors court of session on: 0131 240 6772 or for criminal jurors at the high court of justiciary on: 0131 240 6907. You should receive a response about your request for jury deferment within 10 days.
Jury Service ExemptionsThere are a number of circumstances when you will not be required to perform jury service. These include:
- If you are suffering from, or have suffered from a mental health problem. This includes if you are in a hospital, visit a doctor for treatment regularly, or you are in guardianship under section 7 of the Mental Health Act 1983.
- If you are on bail or have every served a prison sentence.
Coping with Jury ServiceThe cases that you may be asked to serve on can be quite harrowing if the crime is serious. If you feel that you cannot continue as a jury member because of the stress it is causing you, it is important that you inform the court as soon as possible. Under no circumstances simply don’t turn up for your jury service as this will cause the court delays. You could face a fine or even more serious charges if you fail to tell the court you will not be able to attend. The courts understand that jury service can be stressful, so talk to them as they can help you.
You could also talk to your GP or the Samaritans. The Samaritans are trained to support people in highly emotional situations. The courts service has discussed with the Samaritans how jurors may need supporting if they call. Remember though that you can only talk about your feelings about the case you are a juror on, or have just finished. You cannot by law discuss any details of the case with anyone including the Samaritans.