If you have been selected for jury service you will receive a summons approximately fourteen days before you are required to attend.
The summons is sent to you in the post and requires you to attend the court on a certain date and at a certain time.
Jury service can be between two to three weeks but no more than three weeks, unless a particular trial runs longer. You may not have to attend court every day during your period of service, but you must attend when advised to do so.
Failure to attend in accordance with your summons could result in you being summoned to attend before a judge of the Supreme Court. This could result in a substantial fine or imprisonment.
Inability to attend
If there are health or family problems you may be able to defer your jury service to a later date if you have a good reason such as:
- Family responsibilities; or
- Prior arrangements that cannot be changed.
In some cases these reasons can lead to permanent exemption from jury service. If you need to temporarily defer your jury service, or you think you should be permanently exempted, you should complete the Statutory Declaration form which is on the back of the summons and return to the Sheriff’s Office as soon as possible. You will be advised by return mail whether your request has been granted or not.
If you have a disability and it prevents you from sitting comfortably for long periods of time without a break, or from being able to properly follow or participate in the proceedings you may be excluded from jury service. You should complete the Statutory Declaration form on the back of the summons and return it as soon as possible to the Sheriff’s Office together with a certificate from your doctor stating that you are unfit for jury service, or have someone contact the Sheriff’s Office on your behalf to explain your situation.
If the doctor is of the opinion that you are permanently unfit for jury service, the certificate should state so.
You will be advised by return mail whether your request has been granted or not.
If you cannot easily understand spoken or written English, then you will be excluded from jury service as it is essential that all jurors be able to understand everything that happens in court and be able to read and understand any documents that are relevant to the trial. You should complete the Statutory Declaration form and return it to the Sheriff’s Office as soon as possible, or have someone contact the Sheriff’s Office on your behalf to explain your situation. In this case, the Statutory Declaration should be witnessed by your local chemist, doctor or police officer. You will be advised by return mail whether your request has been granted or not.
In all the above cases, namely:
- family problems;
- prior arrangements;
- disability or difficulty understanding or reading English,
if you have not received notification of the result of your request by the time you are due to appear for jury service then you must attend in accordance with your summons. Upon arrival ask to speak to the Deputy Sheriff or relevant court officer.
Can my employer apply for me to be excused?
Yes, your employer can apply for you to be excused. However, you will still need to fill out the Statutory Declaration form on the back of your summons explaining the problem.
This should be accompanied by a written statement from your employer outlining the situation fully. You will be advised by return mail of the result of your application.
Upon receipt of your jury summons you should immediately advise your employer of your impending jury service.
Can I be dismissed from my job for doing jury duty?
No, it is against the law for your employer to dismiss you or in any way disadvantage you for making yourself available for jury service.
An employer can be charged pursuant to the provisions of the Juries Act 2003 and upon conviction could be fined or imprisoned.
In addition the employer could be ordered to pay you a specified sum by way of reimbursement for the salary or wages lost by you and be ordered to reinstate you to your former position or a similar position.
If it is considered that it is impracticable to reinstate you, the employer may be ordered to pay you an amount of compensation not exceeding the amount of remuneration paid to you during the twelve months immediately before your dismissal.