All potential Jurors are selected at random from the Electoral Register.
You are eligible for Jury service if you:
• are 18 years of age or above at the date of summons
• are 65 years of age or under at the date of summons
• have been resident in the UK for a period of at least five years since the age of thirteen.
There are grounds for being excused from Jury Service. Visit the Isle of Man Courts of Justice website for more details.
If you receive a Juror summons it means you have been chosen by the coroner of your sheading to attend court to be considered for Jury Service. If you are then chosen to serve as a Juror you will be selected in order from a Jury list. If you are chosen from the list and qualify for Jury service then you are legally obliged to attend unless you have been formally excused by the Chief Registrar prior to the trial date.
It is an offence under the Jury Act 1980 not to attend for Jury service once summonsed, unless you have been formally excused by the Chief Registrar, prior to the trial date.
There are certain circumstances where you may apply to be excused from Jury service, for example:
• you have sat on a previous Jury in which the Deemster indicated at the end of the trial that you need not attend court as a Juror for a set amount of years
• you have a pre arranged medical appointment or operation (a medical certificate will be required)
• you have a mental or physical disability that would cause doubt as to your capacity to act effectively as a Juror (again a medical certificate will be required)
• you are a student studying away from the Isle of Man
• you have pre-booked travel arrangements (sight of travel documents will be required)
• you are no longer resident on the Isle of Man
• you are the primary carer for a child under the age of 16 (not a person who looks after a child in the absence of the primary carer)
• you do not speak English
• you are self employed and would suffer substantial personal or financial hardship
• any other good and valid reason
If you wish to be excused you will need to complete the Jury Excusal Form that will have been received with your summons and return it to the court together with any supporting documents. A decision will be made on whether your application to be excused is granted or refused and you will be informed of the decision.
Functions and Duties of a Juror
Jurors are required to decide the outcome of trials. They hear the more serious criminal trials such as:
• drugs offences
Jurors may also be required to hear cases such as murder and rape, although these are less common.
As a Juror you must:
• decide on the evidence presented to you in court, whether the person charged with an offence is guilty or not
• take directions relating to the law from the Deemster, whether or not you agree with him
• remain impartial and independent
• remain uninfluenced by any person who is not a member of the Jury. It is an offence for any person who is not a member of the Jury to attempt to influence you in any way. If any person speaks to you about the case you should inform the court immediately
• keep statements made in the Jury room confidential. You should not discuss the case with any person other than members of the Jury. It is contempt of court punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment to repeat any statements made in the Jury room.
What do I do on the day?
On the date of the summons you should attend the Courts of Justice, Deemsters Walk, Bucks Road, Douglas unless you have been excused. You should report to the Wedding Room at the Civil Registry on Deemsters Walk where you will be met by the duty coroner or a court usher.
You should attend no later than 9.30am and bring the coroner's summons and photographic identification with you, for example your driving license or passport.
If you travel to court in your own vehicle park it where it can remain all day because if you are chosen as a Juror you may not be able to leave the court until the end of the day. There is no on-site parking for Jurors.
Do not plan anything else for the day of the summons.
What happens next?
Once you have been met by the coroner or the court usher, you will be shown an instructional 'Jury DVD' lasting about 20 minutes. This DVD will help you familiarise yourself with the layout of the court and the people who will be in there.
You will then be taken into the Jury room with other potential Jurors. Not all those summonsed will be needed for the trial as more people are summoned to allow for those people who may be challenged or excused for various reasons during the selection process.
A Jury consists of 7 or 12 people depending on the type of case that is being tried. Most criminal trials will consist of 7 Jurors, however, a 12 person Jury is usually required for more serious or complicated cases such as murder.
7 or 12 Jurors will then be balloted from the group.
If you are chosen as a potential Juror the prosecutor will read out a list of witnesses that will be in the trial. You will then have the opportunity to write on paper if you know the defendant or any of the witnesses and a decision will be made as to whether you are excused or not.
You will also have the opportunity to state in writing if there is any other reason why you cannot act impartially.
If you are challenged by the prosecutor or defence counsel you will not be required to sit on that particular Jury. You may, however, still be chosen to sit on another Jury. Do not take it personally as individuals are challenged for various reasons.
Unless excused at this stage in proceedings, you will be sworn-in as a Juror by the Deemster.
At this time, the Deemster will talk you through taking the oath or affirmation.
Those taking the oath will hold a Holy Book and read aloud the following words:
“I swear by Almighty God that I will faithfully try the defendant(s) and give a true
verdict according to the evidence.”
This is the general oath however it will vary slightly depending on which Holy Book you are holding, for example, the Islamic oath would replace the words “Almighty God” with “Allah”.
Those affirming will read aloud the following words but without the Holy Book:
“I do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will faithfully try the
defendant(s) and give a true verdict according to the evidence.”
When you swear an oath or affirm, you are making a legally binding commitment to do your best to fulfil your role as a Juror and take an active role in delivering a fair verdict on the defendant.
The Deemster will explain the role and duties of a Jury and the trial will commence.
If you are not chosen as a Juror you must not leave the building until a court official has dismissed you. If there is an objection about any of the selected Jurors, another will be balloted from the remaining group. You may therefore still be required to serve as a Juror on another pending trial.
The trial will usually start at 10.00am each day, breaking for lunch at about 1.00pm and finishing about 4.30 to 5.00pm. There may also be a 10 to 15 minute break in the morning and one in the afternoon. However these times will depend on the Deemster and how the evidence is going.
The coroner will look after the Jury throughout the trial. If any of the Jury have any questions or problems they should approach the coroner who will in turn ask the court.
As a Juror you are not allowed to discuss the case with anyone other than the other members of the Jury at court.
Once the Deemster has summed up all the evidence and given directions to the Jury, you will retire to the Jury room to consider all the evidence and decide on your verdict. Any further questions or problems raised by the Jury should be directed to the coroner who will then address the matter before the court.
The Jury can at any time request to see any of the exhibits that have been shown as part of the trial, the coroner will take the required exhibits to the Jury room during your deliberations for you to view.
Whilst considering the evidence / facts of the case, the Jury will appoint one member to act as the foreperson. The foreperson will indicate to the coroner if and when the Jury has reached a verdict and the coroner will notify the court accordingly.
Once back in court, it is the foreperson who will deliver the verdict to the court when the Deemster asks.
It is important to remember that whilst sitting as a Juror you are not allowed to use mobile phones or laptops in the courtroom. You may use them during breaks in the Jury room but ensure they are switched off before returning to the courtroom.
You are allowed to make handwritten notes during a trial and this may prove very beneficial to you as a trial usually consists of a lot on information / evidence.
You will be entitled to payment for attending court in response to the summons, whether or not you are chosen as a Juror. You will also be entitled to limited travelling expenses, if you incur any.
If you are chosen as a Juror the payment you receive will depend on the length of the trial.
All Jurors are entitled to the following payments:
• When the trial sits for a full day: £56.00
• When the trial sits during only on half of a day: £28.50
(Morning session is up to 1:00pm, afternoon session is from 1:00pm)
A Juror is entitled to daily subsistence at the following rates, based upon attendance:
• Up to 5 hours: £2.15
• 5 to 10 hours: £4.35
• Over 10 hours: £9.55
A travel allowance is paid for travelling from home to court depending upon the mode of transport used:
• Public Transport - The actual fare paid
• Private Car - Engine Capacity up to 1299cc £0.46 per mile (1.61 Km)
• Private Car - Engine Capacity 1300cc or over £0.52 per mile (1.61 Km)
• Private Motorcycle £0.26 per mile (1.61 Km)
• Taxi - if urgent or no public service transport is reasonably available: Actual fare paid plus a reasonable gratuity
• Taxi - in any other case Fare that would have been paid if travelled by appropriate public transport
TRIALS OVER 10 FULL DAYS
In addition to the above remuneration payments, when the trial sits for more that 10 full days (on aggregate), for each day of the trial after the first 10 full days, Jurors are entitled to the following:
• When the trial sits for a full day, up to an additional: £57.00
• When the trial sits during only one half of the day, up to an additional: £36.00
There is limited disc zone parking in nearby streets which will allow parking for short periods of time only (if a parking disc is displayed). The Chester Street, Shaws Brow and Circular Road pay-and-display car parks can all be found within a 10 minute walk from the courthouse. A disabled parking bay with space for 2 vehicles (with disabled badges) is located at the end of the Deemsters Walk footpath which is right outside the courthouse. Please remember that you may be in court all day, and will not have the opportunity to return to your car.
The courthouse complex is situated on Bucks Road in Douglas which is on a main traffic route into the town centre and is therefore served by a number of bus routes from all over the Island. There are bus stops on Bucks Road and nearby Circular Road making access to the complex easy.
What about work?
If you are an employee, work commitments are not considered a sufficient reason to be excused from Jury service. If there are, however, exceptional circumstances which would cause severe difficulties at work an excusal may be considered. You should complete a Jury Excusal form and send it together with supporting documents to the court explaining those circumstances. If you are self employed and Jury service would cause you substantial personal or financial hardship, you can apply to the Chief Registrar to be excused at his/her discretion.
There are no child facilities in Court. However, it is important to note that excusal will usually only be granted if you are the primary carer for a child and not a person who looks after a child in the absence of the primary carer
Running late for Court
If you know you are going to be late you should inform the courts immediately on 01624 685265.
There is no dress code for Jury service however you will be sitting for long periods so something comfortable would be appropriate. Smart casual dress is acceptable.
Can I visit Court before doing Jury Service?
You may visit the courtroom any time during our opening hours, as long as it is a public court that is in session.
The courthouse operates a No Smoking policy as it is a public building. The only period you will have an opportunity to smoke in will be at lunchtime when you have to leave the building.
Jury Room Facilities
There is a hot drinks machine in the jury room which can be used during the breaks. There are also toilets in an adjoining room.