How do I know that I’ve been summoned to act as a juror?
You will receive a letter from HM Courts & tribunal Service informing you that you have been summoned.
The letter will open with a sentence along the lines of “You have been selected for Jury Service.”
The letter will also provide you with a date and the location of the trial you have been summoned for.
Your summons will briefly detail what exactly Jury Service is, so there is no need to worry if you aren’t aware of the process. You will be given a ‘Reply to the Jury Summons.’ Form.
Included alongside you summons is a ‘Guide to Jury Summons’. This guide contains notes to help potential jurors complete their ‘Reply to the Jury Summons’ form as well as providing information on whether or not a juror is suitable for Jury Service.
What do I do now?
Within seven days of receiving your jury summons, you must complete all sections in the ‘Reply to the Jury Summons’ form and return it to the Jury Central Summoning Bureau in the envelope provided. You will be provided with the Jury Central Summoning Bureau’s address on your jury summons, so make sure you still have access to it.
If you have any questions or difficulties when completing your from, make sure you refer to your ‘Guide to Jury Summons’ booklet. However not all questions can be answered by the booklet, so you may need to visit the relevant government page which can be found here.
If you still require assistance, then you should write to the Jury Central Summoning Bureau. Make sure you remember to include your name, address, postcode and juror’s number. You will find the address on your jury summons.
What do I do if I cannot attend?
It is expected that everyone summoned for jury service will serve at the time they are summoned.
However, on certain occasions, it is recognised that it would be unreasonable for someone to serve at the time they are summoned. If this applies to you, you must apply to the Jury Central Summoning Bureau and ask for your service to be deferred to a later date.
Remember, you have to state when in the next twelve months when you will be able to serve at another jury date, this is for your own convenience as it allows the Jury Central Summoning Bureau to move your service to a more convenient date.
If you believe that you will not be able to serve as a juror at any given time within the next year, you must clearly state in full your reasons on the ‘Reply to the jury Summons’ form. You may be asked to provide evidence to verify your given reasons. You will be contacted by the Jury Central Summoning Bureau if any further information is required.
Applications for excusal will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. In all other circumstances it is likely your service will be deferred to the latest possible date.
Taking time off work
You should provide a copy of the letter confirming your jury service to your employer. Your employer must allow you this time off work; however you can ask to delay your jury service if your absence will have a serious effect on business.
Wages during jury service
Your employer can choose whether or not to pay you during your service. If they don’t you can claim for loss of earnings from the court.
Full details of claim types and how much you can claim can be found online.
Problems with your employer
You can complain to an employment tribunal if you’re unreasonably refused time off for jury service.
If your employment is terminated because you do jury service you may be able to claim unfair dismissal.
However, if your employer asks you to delay jury service and you refuse, you may not be able to claim.
It is vital that you are aware of jury secrecy when you do serve. The jury must consider their discussion in secret. This means that it is against the law to disclose what was said by jury members in the jury room.
Section 8(1) of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 provides that it is a contempt of court to obtain, disclose or solicit any particulars of statements made, opinions expressed, arguments advanced or votes cast by members of a jury in the course of their deliberations in any legal proceedings. You could face a fine or even imprisonment.
So much emphasis is placed on secrecy that once the jury retire to the jury room they are only allowed to communicate with the judge and an assigned court officer.
The law in this area is very strict so you have to be extra careful not to disclose any such discussion even indirectly.