Jury Service

What is Jury Service?

The History of Jury Service
Jury Service dates back to the Viking occupation.  Danish towns in England often had, as it principal officers, twelve hereditary ‘law men.’ The Danes introduced the idea of making committees among the free men in court,(those not accused of a crime).  They then set up an early legal system which stated that the twelve leading minor nobles from small districts were required to swear that they would investigate crimes without  bias. These juries differed from the modern sort as they were required to investigate the case themselves. Modern Juries obtain information from the trial.

12th Centuary England saw major developments in the Jury system as Henry II set up a system to resolve land disputes using juries. A jury of twelve free men were assigned to arbitrate in these disputes. This system was similar to that of the Vikings in that the Jury of 12 were charged with uncovering the facts of the case on their own rather than listening to arguments in court. In 1215 trial by jury became a right in one of the most influential clauses of the Magna Carta. Article 39 read:

Nullus liber homo capiatur, vel imprisonetur, aut desseisetur de libero tenemento, vel libertatibus, vel liberis consuetudinibus suis, sut utlagetur, aut exuletur, aut aliquo modo destruatur, nec super eum ibimus, nec super eum mittemus, nisi per legale judicium parium suorum, vel per legem terrae.

This text is translated:

“No free man shall be captured, and or imprisoned, or disseised of his freehold, and or of his liberties, or of his free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor will we proceed against him by force or proceed against him by arms, but by the lawful judgement of his peers, and or by the law of the land.”

During changes in the 17th Century Jurors became less reliant on investigating cases for themselves and listening to evidence through trial.

Jury Service throughout the UK

England and Wales

The role of a Juror
As a Juror  called for Jury Service in England and Wales you are 1 of 12 people sworn in to deliver a verdict in a case submitted to them; collectively 12 Juror’s make up a Jury.

The role of the Jury
The jury is responsible for finding the facts of a case, whilst the judge determines the law. The Jury is responsible for listening to a dispute, evaluating the evidence presented, deciding on the facts, and making a decision in accordance with the rules of law and their jury instructions.

After listening to evidence at trial a Jury decides on a verdict of guilty or not guilty.

The Judge is then responsible for deciding on the penalty.

How the Jury is selected
A jury is made up of 12 members of the public, randomly selected using the electoral registers.

Who can be selected for jury service
You may be asked to do jury service if you:
  • are at least 18 years old and under 70 years old (at the time your jury service starts)
  • are listed on the electoral register
  • have lived in the UK for any period of at least five years since you were 13 years old
If you are selected for Jury Service
If you’re selected for jury service in England and Wales, you will be sent a ‘jury summons’. This tells you the time and date you need to be at court.
You must complete and return it to the Jury Central Summoning Bureau within seven days from the day you get it.

You will then be sent details of how to get to the court and what to expect once you are there.

Attending Court
Prior to attending Court read all the paperwork you have received. This will give directions to the Court you are attending, the time you need to attend and the person to contact on your arrival.

You may also need to be take some form of photographic identification.
If for any reason you can not attend Jury service you need to notify the Court as soon as possible with your reason.
Be aware that you could be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t arrive for jury service.
When you arrive at Court you will be directed to the jury waiting area until a court official calls your name. Normally 15 jurors in total are called and taken into the courtroom. The court clerk randomly selects 12 names of the people that are to form the jury.
If you are not selected, you may:
  • be chosen for another jury on the same day
  • have to come back the next day to be selected for another jury
Number of jurors required
Number of jurors in England and Wales
Court Jurors at start of trial Minimum Number of Jurors Majorities Allowed Source
Crown Court 12 9 11-1, 10-2, 10-1, 9-1 Juries Act 1974, s.17
High Court 12 9 11-1, 10-2, 10-1, 9-1 Juries Act 1974, s.17
County Court 8 7 7-1 County Courts Act 1974, s.67; Juries Act 1974, s.17(2)
Coroner’s Court Between 7 and 11 Minority of no more than 2 Coroners Act 1988, s.8(2)(a), s.12
Objection to jurors

During selection of a jury, an objection to a juror could be lodged by the prosecution or defence team. If it is a joint objection you may not become part of the jury. If just one side objects, a reason must be given and the judge will decide whether you should be excused or not.

Knowledge of the accused
Likewise, as a Juror, it may become apparent that you have some connection with the case, this may be personal knowledge of the case, you may know some one involved, or you may work for the same employer as the accused. You will normally be presented with a list (mostly verbal and read out by the prosecution) of all associated persons and companies to ensure you have no knowledge of the case. This allows you to sit as part of an unbiased Jury.

If you believe you may have some knowledge however minor you should tell the Clerk of Court immediately. The judge will then decide whether you should be excused from serving as a juror or not.
Swearing In
The Clerk of the Court will administer the oath. This process is called ‘swearing in’. You can affirm instead of swearing the oath (different religions with be given their respective holy books, such as the Bible, Koran etc). Affirming means that you make a non religious promise before the court that you will try the case faithfully and reach a true verdict on the evidence presented.
A verdict is whether someone is guilty or not guilty of committing a crime.
The Trial
There are two sides to each trial:
  • The prosecution who acts on behalf of the victim(s) of the crime
  • The defence who acts on behalf of the person on trial for committing the crime – the ‘defendant’
You will hear an introduction to the case by the Prosecution outlining the facts of the case. The defence will then cross examine those facts.
Then, the “first round” is presented by the Prosecution in which prosecution witnesses give their evidence in chief. The Defence will then ask them about their evidence. This is referred to as cross examination.
The Prosecution can then ask any further questions of the Prosecution Witness if needed, this is known as re examination.
As there is no obligation to prove innocence the accused does not have to give evidence. However, if the accused does decide to give evidence then the roles are reversed.
Defence Counsel will then call their witnesses and defendants.
Prosecution Counsel will cross examine the defendants and their witnesses.
Defence Counsel can then re examine.
Following the questioning of witnesses the Prosecution will present a summary of the case and highlight again any evidence that they want to bring to the Jury’s attention.
The Defence will then follow a similar practise.
Notes

You can take notes during the trial but they cannot be taken home. In some situations it may be that you need to ask a question about a piece of evidence you have heard. You can write your question on a piece of paper and pass it to the Clerk of the Court who will then pass it to the Judge. The Judge will then answer your question as it is most important that you have a full understanding of what is being presented before you.

Discharge of jurors

Individual jurors
During a trial, an individual juror can be discharged and the trial can continue so long as the minimum number of jurors remain. Discharge is at the discretion of the judge and only allowed in exceptional circumstances.

Whole jury
Where misconduct cannot be dealt with by discharge of an individual juror, or in the case of jury tampering, or where the jury cannot reach a verdict, the entire jury can be discharged.
In cases where inadmissible evidence has been introduced during a trial that may prejudice the jury this does not necessarily lead to discharge of the jury.
The matter rests at the discretion of the judge who may conclude that the rights of the defendant can be adequately protected by directing the jury to ignore the evidence.
Retirement of the jury
Following a trial the judge outline the facts of the case which is referred to as summing up, the Judge will then instruct the Jury to retire to deliberate over the evidence they have heard and press the jury for a unanimous verdict.
The Judge will also ask the Jury to appoint a spokesperson also known as the foreman to speak on their behalf, this might be to direct any potential questions through and also to deliver any verdicts.
The Judge may also inform the Jury that a majority is acceptable only until after 2 hours and 10 minutes. This was originally 2 hours but it was extended to allow time for the jury to settle after retiring. In this instance it will depend on the complexity of the case, where a trial has commenced for many weeks with lots of evidence, a Jury may take days to reach a verdict.
Following the retirement of the jury, the court usher swears to keep the jury in some “private and convenient place”, to prevent them from speaking to anyone else about the case.
Not even the Judge is allowed to ask the Jury any questions apart from whether they have agreed upon their verdict.
The usher, then becoming the jury bailiff then remains outside the jury room during the deliberations. The jury, may at any time, send a note to the judge asking a question about a point of law or to refresh themselves on any evidence. It is a contempt of court for a juror to disclose, or for anyone else enquire into, the nature of the jury’s deliberations in any way ( this includes any association in the form of social networking sites, email / electronic communications- indeed any form of communication).
Verdict
The jury may return a verdict of:
  • Not guilty; the defendant is freed and the case ends
  • Guilty; the judge decides on the sentence
It is also possible that no decision is reached. If this happens, there is usually a new trial with a new jury.
Further information on Jury Service in England and Wales can be found at .Gov.UK.

 Jury Service in Scotland for criminal trials

If you are called for Jury Service in Scotland it is like to be relating to criminal trials, but you may be called to serve at a civil trial.

Criminal trials take place in either the High Court or the sheriff court depending on the seriousness of the crime. Civil trials take place in the Court of Session.
Potential jurors are chosen at random from the electoral roll register. It is a duty required of most people since in Scotland that when a person is charged with a serious crime they may have the question of guilt decided, not by a Judge, but by fellow members of the public.
The service given by those who attend as jurors is an essential part of the administration of the Scottish criminal law system
This guidance explains what to expect if you are called for jury service to serve at a criminal trial taking place in either the High Court or the sheriff court depending on the seriousness of the crime.

For the most up to date information on Jury Service (Criminal Cases) in Scotland visit The Scottish Courts Website

Criminal Courts – High Court and Sheriff Court

Criminal cases are dealt with under one of two procedures depending on the seriousness of the offence, these are:

  • minor offences, such as being drunk and disorderly, are heard before a JP or sheriff, or a fixed penalty may be imposed at the time of the incident
  • serious offences, such as rape and murder, are heard before a sheriff/judge and jury.

A sheriff court can be designated as a drugs court for the immediate area. It can deal with offenders who have a drug abuse problem

The High Court
The High Court is presided over by the Lord Justice General and the Lord Justice Clerk.  They usually sit as chairpersons in the courts of criminal appeal.  The other full time judges, who are also Senators of the College of Justice, are known as Lords Commissioners of Justiciary when sitting in the High Court.  Additionally, retired judges, and also temporary judges, who are usually senior Advocates or Sheriffs, are sometimes employed to assist in ensuring that the court can accommodate all the business with which it may have to deal.
The High Court deals with the most serious crimes such as murder, rape, culpable homicide, armed robbery, drug trafficking and serious sexual offences, particularly those involving children.  Cases are presided over by a single judge and tried by a jury of fifteen

Sheriff court
The sheriff court can deal with some criminal cases. Cases can be heard before a sheriff or a sheriff and a jury. The maximum sentence for cases heard before a sheriff is a fine of £10,000 or 12 months in prison. The maximum sentence for cases heard before a sheriff and jury is 5 years (3 years for cases that were first called before 1 May 2004) in prison or an unlimited fine.
Examples of criminal cases the sheriff court can deal with are:

  • theft
  • assault
  • possession of drugs
  • soliciting
  • appeals from the Children’s Hearing

Who can be selected for Jury Service in the High Court / Sheriff Court?
You may be asked to Jury Service if:

  • You will be at least 18 years old on the date that you start your jury service
  • You are registered as a parliamentary or local government elector
  • You have lived in the United Kingdom, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for any period of at least 5 years since you were 13 years old

Some individuals may not qualify or be excused from Jury Service
See the link below for a directory of individuals excused from Jury Service:
Do you qualify for Jury Service?

Jury Summons
If you are being considered for jury service, you will receive two legal documents; a notice to potential jurors then some time later a jury citation.

Notice to potential jurors
The notice to potential jurors tells you that you may be called for jury service at some time in the near future. You are being asked to be part of a ‘pool’ of people who can be called on.
You must let the Clerk of the Court know if you are not allowed to be on a jury – see the link above.
If you are allowed to serve on a jury you must let the Clerk of the Court know of any holiday arrangements or other commitments in the proceeding twelve month period. If you do not return the form completed you may be fined.

Jury citation
You should receive this document, approximately four weeks prior to the trial date.
It will give you information on where and when to attend the court. The citation should also include information on details of current allowances, the claim form for allowances and details of the jurors’ court helpline.

Attending Court
On attending Court, you will be shown into the court room along with the other people who have been summoned to register your name.
Once the attendance of all potential jurors has been confirmed, slips containing potential Jurors names, addresses and citation numbers will be placed in a jury bowl. The first case for trial will be called, and at that point the clerk of court will select 15 names from the jury bowl.
In some cases the defendant may decide to plead guilty prior to their trial and when this happens a jury will not be required. This may mean some cases take any guilty pleas first. You may therefore need to wait until these cases have been dealt with.
In a Scottish criminal trial the jury is made up of 15 persons. Those 15 will be chosen from the larger number summoned.
This is not to be confused with a Jury in England and Wales consisting of 12 Jurors

Objections to jurors
During the selection process, the prosecutor and each defendant can object to a maximum of three names without giving any reason.

Knowledge of the defendant
If you think you know the defendant you should inform the clerk of court immediately. The clerk will then report the matter to the Judge who will decide whether you should be excused from serving as a juror.
If you are excused this will not necessarily mean that you are discharged from further attendance and you may be asked to return later in the week if there are other cases to be heard.

Swearing In
After the jury has been selected, the clerk will read to them the charge against the defendant and also administer the oath. (different religions with be given their respective holy books, such as the Bible, Koran etc)
A juror who wish to affirm instead, but prior notice of this should be given to the clerk.
Affirming means that you make a non religious promise before the court that you will well and truly try the case and reach a true verdict on the evidence presented.
A verdict is whether someone is guilty or not guilty of committing a crime.
If you have not been selected and further cases remain you will be told when to return and may have to return more than once in the course of the week.

The Trial
In Scotland all prosecutions are brought by the Crown acting through the Lord Advocate, or one of the Deputes, or the Procurator Fiscal. It is the task of the Crown to convince the jury of the guilt of the defendant and is done so by providing evidence. Evidence may only be obtained from witnesses; and so the aim of any trial is to allow the jury to hear witnesses and then decide if what the witnesses say satisfies them that the charge has been proved. In some cases the Judge may give a short explanatory talk to the jury, there are no preliminary speeches on behalf of either the Crown or the defendant.

The trial will begin with the first witness for the Crown who is examined initially by the prosecutor in what is known as evidence in chief, then by counsel or solicitor for the defendant which is known as cross-examination and again by the prosecutor which is known as re examination.

The Judge may also ask the witness questions to clear up any matter of doubt.

The same procedure is followed for each witness until, when the prosecutor has called all the witnesses whose evidence the jury is to consider, the Crown case is closed.

As there is no obligation to prove innocence, the defendant does not have to give any evidence. If the defendant decides to give evidence the roles are reversed; counsel or solicitor for the defendant examines the witness, the prosecutor cross-examines, and counsel or solicitor for the defendant re-examines.

When all the evidence has been dealt with, the prosecutor and counsel or solicitor for the defendant may make a speech to the jury to indicate the points they wish the jury to consider in reaching their verdict.

Summing up
A Jury may have paid attention to the evidence which has been given and to the points which have been made, but they cannot come to any worthwhile decision lacking knowledge of the law. It is the duty of the Judge to provide guidance on this. In what is known technically as the charge or “summing up”.

The Judge will explain the separate functions of Judge and jury. It will be explained that the Judge is the sole authority on the law, and only the jury can decide the facts. The Judge may give the jury directions on matters of law which arise in the particular circumstances of the case.

The Judge will also remind the Jury of the rules of criminal law which govern all trials. These include the following:

  • Every person who is defendant of a crime is presumed innocent until guilt has been proved. The defendant does not require to prove anything. It is for the Crown to prove guilt. The standard of proof which the law demands is not merely that the possibility or even probability but proof beyond reasonable doubt. If, at the end of the day, any such reasonable doubt remains in the minds of the jury the benefit of that doubt must be given to the defendant and the defendant cannot be found guilty.
  • Apart from a few statutory exceptions an defendant cannot be convicted on the evidence of a single witness no matter how credible that witness may be. What is required by the law is proof of guilt by corroborated evidence, and the Judge will explain where, in the evidence led in the particular case, corroboration may be found.

Role of the Jury
After the Judge’s summing up the jury will retire to consider their verdict. They will  appoint someone to chair the discussion and act as spokesperson. The jury’s task is to weigh the evidence of the witnesses. They must decide who and who not to believe. They may believe a witness wholly, or in part, or not at all.

The Jury must then consider only the evidence which they believe and must disregard what they do not believe. They must bear in mind the directions given by the Judge on the need for corroboration. The jury will give their decision in the case by returning what is known as a verdict. There must be a verdict on each charge (if more than one) and against each defendant (if more than one).

Although there are three verdicts open to the jury – guilty, not guilty or not proven – their fundamental choice is to decide whether or not the Crown has established, beyond reasonable doubt, that the charge before them was committed by the defendant. If that is the case then a verdict of guilty can be returned either unanimously or by a majority.

However, if the jury wish to return a majority verdict of guilty there must be at least eight of their number in favour of that verdict. If the jury are not satisfied that the guilt of the defendant has been established (or the facts of the case have not been proved), then a verdict of not guilty or not proven should be returned. Either of these verdicts can be unanimous or by a majority and will result in the acquittal of the defendant. If the majority are for acquittal, the jury should then decide whether to return a verdict of not guilty or not proven.
The effect of these two verdicts is the same, the defendant is acquitted of the charge for all time.

On returning to court the verdict will be taken by the clerk in response to questions put to the jury’s spokesperson. The verdict is then delivered before the Court and entered in the court record by the clerk; this may take some time.

In the event of acquittal, the defendant will be dismissed from the dock. In the event of conviction, the jury will require to remain in their place until sentence is pronounced by the Judge.

Throughout the trial no member of the jury may discuss the case with anyone except fellow jurors and then only in the jury room. It should be remembered that it is a contempt of court, punishable by imprisonment or a fine, for a juror to discuss any particulars of statements made, opinions expressed, arguments advanced or votes cast by members of a jury in the course of their discussions even after the trial has ended. It is also a contempt of court for any person to make any enquiries into a Jury’s decision.

When the verdict has been recorded and the case disposed of, the jury will normally, but not always, be discharged from further attendance.

Following the trial a member of staff will be in attendance to assist in completion of any claim for travelling expenses and compensation for loss of earnings.

A guide to claiming Jury Service expenses
The link below explains the allowances that can be paid for attendance at court as a juror, including: travel, subsistence, loss of earnings/benefit, child-minding/adult carer allowance. There are maximum amounts which can be claimed and these are detailed in the guide. Some information for employers can also be found here:

Applying for expenses – Jury Service Scotland Criminal Cases

Jury Service in Scotland for civil trials

If you are called for Jury Service in Scotland it is likely to be relating to criminal trials, but you may also be called for Jury Service in Scotland for civil trials.

Criminal trials take place in either the High Court or the sheriff court depending on the seriousness of the crime. Civil trials take place in the Court of Session.

Potential jurors are chosen at random from the electoral roll register. It is a duty required of most people since in Scotland that when a person is charged with a serious crime they may have the question of guilt decided, not by a Judge, but by fellow members of the public.
The service given by those who attend as jurors is an essential part of the administration of the Scottish criminal law system
This guidance explains what to expect if you are called for jury service to serve at a criminal trial taking place in either the High Court or the sheriff court depending on the seriousness of the crime.

For the most up to date information on Jury Service (Civil Cases) in Scotland visit The Scottish Courts Website

Jury Service Civil Cases – Court of Session
In Scotland if you are called for jury service it will commonly be to serve at a criminal trial, but you can be called to serve at a civil trial.
This guidance deals with potential Juror’s attending civil cases which take place in the Court of Session.
The Court of Session is Scotland’s supreme civil court and sits in Parliament House in Edinburgh. The Court is divided into the Outer House and the Inner House. The Outer House is the junior part of the Court of Session and is a court of first instance and consists of 22 Lords Ordinary sitting alone or, in certain cases, with a civil jury.
The Inner House is an appeal court for civil cases as well as a court of first instance.
A court of first instance is a court in which trials take place and a Court of appeal is where the process for requesting a formal change to an official decision is made

Who can be selected for Jury Service in the Court of Session
You may be asked to do Jury Service if:

  • You will be at least 18 years old on the date that you start your jury service
  • You are registered as a parliamentary or local government elector
  • You have lived in the United Kingdom, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for any period of at least 5 years since you were 13 years old.

Some individuals may not qualify or be excused from Jury Service
See the link below for a directory of individuals excused from Jury Service:
Do you qualify for Jury Service?

Jury Summons
If you are being considered for jury service, you will receive two legal documents; a notice to potential jurors then some time later a jury citation.

Notice to potential jurors
The notice to potential jurors tells you that you may be called for jury service at some time in the near future.
If you have personal or business commitments, or if you have already entered into holiday arrangements which would cause abnormal inconvenience, difficulty or expense to cancel, the court will consider a request for excusal. However if, exceptionally, your request is granted, it is likely that a further jury citation will be sent out to you at a later date. Requests for excusal can only be made personally i.e. they cannot be made on your behalf by relatives, colleagues, or employers etc and should be made in writing.
If you suffer from any medical condition or ailment which may make it difficult or impossible for you to perform service as a juror adequately e.g. if you are very hard of hearing, or if you have very poor eyesight, you should contact the court immediately. You may be asked to produce a medical certificate.

Jury citation
You should receive this document, approximately four weeks prior to the trial date.
It will give you information on where and when to attend the court. The citation should also include information on details of current allowances, the claim form for allowances and details of the jurors’ court helpline.

Where do I report to?
Cases are heard in one of the courtrooms in the Court of Session, which is located in Parliament Square, Edinburgh, just behind St Giles Cathedral. You should enter by door No 11 and report to the reception desk; from there you will be directed to the appropriate courtroom.

Car parking
There is no car parking facilities for jurors. The majority of the surrounding streets are ‘yellow lined’. If you have to travel by car due to a disability you should contact the Court immediately. If you choose to travel by car, you must make your own parking arrangements. Please allow sufficient time to do so as it is important that you reach the courtroom on time. Parking charges cannot be reclaimed.

How long will I be required to attend court?
It is impossible to say how long you may have to serve as a juror: most cases last less than a week. Some cases have lots of witnesses and this obviously means they will last longer than others. The evening (Monday) before you are due to attend Court it is ESSENTIAL to telephone – free of charge – the juror’s update line 0800 731 9060.
The court usually sits from around 10.00 am until 4.00 PM, breaking for lunch. Occasionally, it may have to sit later. You will be able to return home each evening. Lunch will be provided, but you will not normally be permitted to leave the courthouse during the lunch interval. Persons attending court need to ensure that they arrive in good time at the beginning of each day as proceedings cannot begin until all jurors have taken their place in the jury box.

Attending Court
When you arrive at court the Clerk of Court will check that all persons due to appear for jury service are present.
If you do not attend court you may be fined.
Sometimes parties involved in the case may settle their dispute out of Court prior to hearing. In these situations it is no longer necessary to select a jury. Cases are often settled at the last minute and although this may cause inconvenience to potential witnesses, jurors etc, there is nothing the court can do about it. If the dispute is not settled, the case goes ahead and a jury is chosen from the people who have attended court for jury service.

How is the jury selected?
Once it is known that the case is ready to proceed, the Clerk of Court will place slips of paper containing the names of all the potential jurors in a glass bowl. The Clerk will then draw 12 names at random and call out each name. If your name is called out, you should come forward and take your seat in the jury box.

Objections to jurors.
During the selection of the jury, each side in the case has a right to object to a maximum of 4 of the names without giving a reason. Objections may be made for many reasons, for example, to keep a balance between male and female jurors, or to ensure that various age groups are represented. If your name is called out, you should not be worried and remain seated. If you have already entered the jury box, return to your original seat in court.
If you are not chosen, because your name was not called out by the Clerk of Court, or your name was objected to, you will be released from jury service and told how to claim expenses etc. However, you should not leave the courtroom until told by the Judge that you may do so.

Knowledge of the case
Following selection to serve on the jury, the Clerk of Court will give you a written statement describing what issues the jury are to decide. The clerk will ask whether you have any interest to declare. This means if you think you may have personal knowledge of the case, for example, if you know one of the parties or if you work for the same employer, you should tell the Clerk of Court immediately. It will then be for the Judge to decide whether you can serve as a juror.
The Clerk of Court then administers the oath. If you object to being sworn, you may affirm instead.
Affirming means that you make a non religious promise before the court that you will well and truly try the case and reach a true verdict on the evidence presented

What kind of case will be tried?
You and your fellow jury members are being called upon to try a civil case. Civil cases are different from criminal trials. In civil cases, the Court is asked to settle a dispute between 2 or more parties as to their respective legal rights and duties. The party who raises the action is known as the Pursuer. The person against whom the action is brought is called the Defender. There are many types of civil action. A typical example is where a Pursuer seeks damages from a Defender for injuries sustained in an accident. The Pursuer will try to establish that the accidents, and therefore their injuries, were caused by the fault or negligence of the Defender. If the Pursuer succeeds, he or she may be entitled to receive damages (i.e. compensation) from the Defender.

What is my role and the role of the Jury?
Your role as part of the Jury is to decide the issue or issues which are put to you, having heard and considered the facts according to the evidence.
As a member of the Jury you should pay careful attention to all the evidence, since the verdict must be based on the evidence and nothing else. Note taking is allowed. The Jury, as a whole, should remain attentive at all times to the evidence being put forward.

If you become unfit / ill during the Trial
Once the trial has started, if you become unwell overnight, or over a weekend and cannot return to court, you should contact the court as soon as possible.

What is the role of the judge?
The Judge is in charge of all proceedings in the courtroom and is responsible for advising you on all matters of law which affect the case.
When a matter of law has to be decided, it will normally be done by the Judge alone. Where a point of law is to be argued, the Judge may direct the jury to leave the courtroom for a short time while this is taking place.

What happens next?
Counsel (Queen’s Counsel or an Advocate: very senior lawyers) representing the Pursuer will make an opening speech outlining the Pursuer’s case. At the end of this speech, the Pursuer’s evidence is heard. Evidence may be either:

  • what witnesses say under oath in the witness box; or
  • certain documents or exhibits (known as productions) which the Judge may admit as evidence.

When the evidence for the Pursuer has been heard, counsel for the Defender will normally make an opening speech and then call witnesses or “production evidence”.
Witnesses are examined (i.e. questioned) on oath first by the counsel for the party calling them and may be referred to as evidence in chief; then cross-examined by counsel for the other party or parties; finally they may be re-examined by the first counsel. On some occasions, the Judge may ask questions to clear up any mis understandings or doubts which have arisen in the evidence. Each witness is examined in turn. All of the parties to the action are entitled to lead evidence.
After all the evidence has been heard each counsel will usually make a closing speech to the jury, emphasising the points of the evidence which they wish jurors to particularly note. After the closing speeches, it is the duty of the presiding Judge to charge the jury. The charge gives the Judge the opportunity of reviewing the evidence which has been led and giving the jury other information to assist them in coming to their decision. The jury are masters of the facts, and it is their task to assess the credibility i.e. the general truthfulness and accuracy of what the witnesses have said under oath and the overall strength of the evidence. The Judge leaves the ultimate decision upon the facts entirely to the jury, but lays down the particular principles of law which apply to the case. The jury then retire to the jury room to consider their verdict.
The verdict is then delivered before the Court and entered in the court record by the clerk

Secrecy during the trial
Throughout the trial no member of the jury may discuss the case with anyone except fellow jurors and then only in the jury room. It should be remembered that it is a contempt of court, punishable by imprisonment or a fine, for a juror to discuss any particulars of statements made, opinions expressed, arguments advanced or votes cast by members of a jury in the course of their discussions even after the trial has ended. It is also a contempt of court for any person to make any enquiries into a Jury’s decision. Any such approaches should be reported to the Police or the Clerk of Court.

Following the trial a member of staff will be in attendance to assist in completion of any claim for travelling expenses and compensation for loss of earnings

Claiming Jury expenses
You are not paid for jury service. However, if being away from your work means that you will lose pay, or if you have to pay a substitute to do your job, or if you incur any other necessary expense such as for childminding, you will be reimbursed subject to a maximum daily amount. When you receive your jury citation it will contain details of the current allowances. Any travelling expenses will also be reimbursed. Claims should be made at the end of your period of jury service. The Clerk of Court will tell you how this is done: payment is normally made by cheque sent to your home. You will receive the cheque within 7 to 10 days from receipt of the claim. In exceptional circumstances payment can be made in cash.

Applying for Expenses – Jury Service Scotland civil cases

Jury Service Northern Ireland

Jury service is something that some people may be asked to do in their lifetime. Jury Service Northern Ireland is a ‘civic duty’ and helps decide the outcome of criminal (and civil) trials in a court.

People from a cross-section of society are selected to hear evidence about anyone who has been charged with an offence. Based on the evidence presented to them the jury is asked to decide if the defendant, the person charged with the offence, is guilty or not guilty.

Who can be selected for jury service?
You may be asked to do jury service if you:

  • You are between the ages of 18 and 70
  • You are registered on your local government’s electoral register
  • You have lived in the UK, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands for the last 5 years since you were 13 years old

How is selection made?
The administration of the Jury System in Northern Ireland is governed by The Juries (NI) Order 1996 and The Juries Regulations (NI) 1996.The Order legislates that it is the responsibility of the Chief Electoral Officer to arrange the selection of a sufficient number of jurors from the electoral register and provides the juries officer with a list of those persons selected for each County Court Division.The juries officer serves a Jury Notice on every person whose name is included in the list during February/March each year. The jury lists are then divided into panels. Jurors whose names are included in the list will then be summoned by the juries officer to attend the court specified in the jury summons. The jury summons process normally commences mid-July/early August and continues in accordance with the Crown Court calendar and business requirements until the following June. The summonses are sent out 3-5 weeks in advance of the first day of jury service.

Jury Notice
If your name is chosen randomly from the electoral register. You will receive a Jury notice explaining that your name was on the list of potential jurors for the year, accompanying the will be a form of return. If you have received a Jury Notice advising you that you have been selected for jury service, you are required to complete the ‘Form of Return’ and return your form to the Juries Officer within 14 days of receipt of the Jury Notice. If you fail to make a return within 14 days or make a false statement you will be liable on conviction of a Magistrates Court to a fine of up to £1,000.
There are, however, several grounds for excusing yourself from having to serve on a jury and details of these categories will be listed on the Jury Notice.

If you have a query regarding your summons to the High, Crown and Coroners courts, need to be escused from jury service, or jury expenses, please contact the Jury Management team using the following contact details:
Jury Management Team
Customer Service Centre
PO Box 256
Londonderry
Telephone: 028 7126 1329
Fax No.: 028 7137 2105.

Jury Summons
The jury summons tells you which court you are required to attend and the date and time on which your jury service will begin. You will usually have between three to five weeks between the Summons letter arriving and your first day in court. The letter also provides details for the Customer Service Centre that will help you with any queries that you might have about your jury service.
If there is a reason that prevents you from serving at that time, you will need to contact the Customer Service Centre (see above) and ask to be ‘deferred’ so that you can serve at a later date, or ‘excused’ from jury service altogether. The reasons you might be deferred or excused and how to apply for deferral or excusal, as they are known, are provided in part two of your Jury Summons.
Additional information will also accompany your Jury Summons including details of financial allowances and general information on the courthouse you will be attending.

How many people are on a Jury
In criminal cases 12 people form the jury, in civil cases 7 people make up the jury and in coroners inquests there are between 7 and 11 jurors.

Crown Court
In Northern Ireland, Crown Courts are where serious criminal cases are heard by a judge and jury.
In those cases, the judge makes decisions about the law and manages the trial. The jury considers the evidence, and decides whether the person on trial is guilty or innocent.
In cases when the jury finds the defendants guilty, the judge issues their sentences.
Throughout the trial, the judge makes sure that the jury is aware of its legal role, and what it should and shouldn’t do so that the court case stays within the law.

Coroner’s Courts
A coroner must summon a jury for an inquest if the death occurred in prison or in police custody, or in the execution of a police officer’s duty, or if it affects public health or safety
The coroner’s court operates differently to other courts in that the jury is not asked to return a verdict of guilty or not guilty. You are on a coroner’s jury to confirm two things: The first is the identity of the person that has died, and secondly how, when and where the person died.

Attending Court
Prior to attending Court read all the paperwork you have received. This will give directions to the Court you are attending, the time you need to attend and the person to contact on your arrival.
You should also take identification. Acceptable forms of ID are as follows:

  • Full passport
  • Photo driving licence
  • EU National Identity card
  • Home Office documents confirming UK immigration status

or any two of the following:

  • Birth certificate (issued within six weeks of birth)
  • Credit card with three statements and proof of signature
  • Cheque book and bank card with three statements and proof of signature
  • Three utility bills showing correct name and address.

Court staff will ask you to show these to confirm your identity when you arrive at court on your first day.
When you arrive at Court you will be directed to the jury waiting area until a court official calls your name. Normally 15 jurors in total are called and taken into the court. The court clerk randomly selects 12 names of the people that are to form the jury.
If you are not selected, you may:

  • be chosen for another jury on the same day
  • have to come back the next day to be selected for another jury

Objections to jurors
During selection of a jury, an objection to a juror could be lodged by the prosecution or defence team. If it is a joint objection you may not become part of the jury. If just one side objects, a reason must be given and the judge will decide whether you should be excused or not.

Knowledge of the accused
If it becomes apparent that you have some connection with the case, this may be personal knowledge of the case, you may know some one involved, or you may work for the same employer as the accused. You will normally be presented with a list (mostly verbal and read out by the prosecution) of all associated persons and companies to ensure you have no knowledge of the case. This allows you to sit as part of an unbiased Jury.
If you believe you may have some knowledge however minor you should tell the Clerk of Court immediately. The judge will then decide whether you should be excused from serving as a juror or not.

Swearing in
The Clerk of the Court will administer the oath. This process is called ‘swearing in’. You can affirm instead of swearing the oath (different religions with be given their respective holy books, such as the Bible, Koran etc). Affirming means that you make a non religious promise before the court that you will try the case faithfully and reach a true verdict on the evidence presented.
A verdict is whether someone is guilty or not guilty of committing a crime.

The trial
There are two sides to each trial.
The prosecution acts on behalf of the victim(s) of the crime.
The defence acts on behalf of the person on trial for committing the crime – the ‘defendant’.
You will hear an introduction to the case by the Prosecution outlining the facts of the case. The defence will then cross examine those facts.
The Prosecution will present their case first in which prosecution witnesses will give their evidence in chief.
The Defence will then ask the prosecution witness about their evidence, this is referred to as cross examination.
The Prosecution may ask further questions of the their Witness if needed, this is known as re examination.
As the Defence have no obligation to prove innocence, the defendant does not have to give evidence.
However, if the accused does decide to give evidence then the roles are reversed.
Defence Counsel will then call their witnesses and defendants.
Prosecution Counsel with cross examine the defendants and their witnesses.
Defence Counsel may re examine.
Notes can be taken during the trial but they cannot be taken home.
In some situations it may be that you need to ask a question about a piece of evidence you have heard. You can write your question on a piece of paper and pass it to the Clerk of the Court who will then pass it to the Judge.
The Judge will then answer your question as it is most important that you have a full understanding of what is being presented before you.
Following the questioning of witnesses the Prosecution will present a summary of the case and highlight again any evidence that they want to bring to the Jury’s attention.
The Defence will then follow a similar practise.

Retirement of the Jury
Following a trial the judge outline the facts of the case which is referred to as summing up, the Judge will then instruct the Jury to retire to deliberate over the evidence they have heard and press the jury for a unanimous verdict.
The Judge will also ask the Jury to appoint a spokesperson also known as the foreman to speak on their behalf, this might be to direct any potential questions through and also to deliver any verdicts.
The Judge may also inform the Jury that a majority is acceptable only until after 2 hours and 10 minutes. This was originally 2 hours but it was extended to allow time for the jury to settle after retiring. In this instance it will depend on the complexity of the case, where a trial has commenced for many weeks with lots of evidence, a Jury may take days to reach a verdict.
Following the retirement of the jury, the court usher swears to keep the jury in some “private and convenient place”, to prevent them from speaking to anyone else about the case.
Not even the Judge is allowed to ask the Jury any questions apart from whether they have agreed upon their verdict.
The usher, then becoming the jury bailiff then remains outside the jury room during the deliberations. The jury, may at any time, send a note to the judge asking a question about a point of law or to refresh themselves on any evidence. It is a contempt of court for a juror to disclose, or for anyone else enquire into, the nature of the jury’s deliberations in any way ( this includes any association in the form of social networking sites, email / electronic communications- indeed any form of communication).

Verdict
The jury may return a verdict of:

  • Not guilty; the defendant is freed and the case ends
  • Guilty; the judge decides on the sentence

It is also possible that no decision is reached. If this happens, there is usually a new trial with a new jury.

Additional Information

Your Employment
Some jurors feel concerned about the impact being on jury service may have on their job or career particularly if they have been selected to serve as a juror on a long trial. An information booklet for employers of jurors has been designed to explain some of the issues which may concern employers.
Guide to Employers

Employers Certificate
If you are claiming financial loss, please ensure that your employer completes the employer’s certificate at the back of the jury summons. Payment by the Courts and Tribunals Service is made to the juror and any arrangement for employers to recoup wages is a matter between the juror and their employer.

What do I do with my claims form?
When your form has been completed ensure that it has been signed in all the appropriate places. Completed forms may be left on your last day at the court office, or returned by post to the Customer Service Centre. Please ensure that you enclose all appropriate receipts and tickets.
Payment of expenses can be made directly into your bank account. Please ensure that you complete all of your bank details required at the relevant section of the claim form.

Allowances
If you have any questions about your allowances, you should contact the Customer Service Centre at:
Customer Service Centre
PO Box 256
Londonderry
Phone: 028 7126 1329
Fax: 028 7137 2105
E-mail: customerservicecentre@courtsni.gov.uk

Claiming expenses
An allowance leaflet will be enclosed with your summons showing the various allowances you may be entitled to.
If you need any further information please contact:
Customer Service Centre
PO Box 256
Londonderry
Phone: 028 7126 1329
Fax: 028 7137 2105
E-mail: customerservicecentre@courtsni.gov.uk

Contact details for Northern Ireland Courts

Antrim Court Office
The Courthouse
30 Castle Way
Antrim BT41 4AQ
Phone: 028 9446 2661
Fax: 028 9446 3301
DX No: 3452 NR
E: antrimcourtoffice@courtsni.gov.uk

Armagh Court Office
The Courthouse
The Mall
Armagh BT61 9DJ
Phone: 028 3752 2816
Fax: 028 3752 8194
DX No: 2791 NR
E: armaghcourthouse@courtsni.gov.uk

Ballymena Court Office
The Courthouse
Albert Place
Ballymena BT43 6DY
Phone: 028 2564 9416
Fax: 028 2565 5371
DX No: 3202 NR
E: ballymenacourthouse@courtsni.gov.uk

Laganside Courts
Oxford Street
Belfast BT1 3LL
Phone: 02890 728239
Fax: 028 9031 0227
DX No: 461 NR
E: laganside@courtsni.gov.uk

Coleraine Court Office
The Courthouse
Mountsandel Road
Coleraine BT52 1NY
Phone: 028 7034 3437
Fax: 028 7032 0156
DX No: 3411 NR
E: colerainecourthouse@courtsni.gov.uk

Craigavon Court Office
The Courthouse
Central Way
Craigavon BT64 1AP
Phone: 028 3834 1324
Fax: 028 3834 1243
DX No: 3762 NR
E: craigavoncourthouse@courtsni.gov.uk

Downpatrick Court Office
The Courthouse
21 English Street
Downpatrick BT30 6AB
Phone: 028 4461 4621
Fax: 028 4461 3969
DX No: 2971 NR
E: downpatrickcourthouse@courtsni.gov.uk

Dungannon Court Office
The Courthouse
46 Killyman Road
Dungannon BT71 6DE
Phone: 028 8772 2992
Fax: 028 8772 8169
DX No: 3052 NR
E: dungannoncourthouse@courtsni.gov.uk

Enniskillen Court Office
The Courthouse
East Bridge Street
Enniskillen BT74 7BW
Phone: 028 6632 2356
Fax: 028 6632 3636
DX No: 3553 NR
E: enniskillencourthouse@courtsni.gov.uk

Londonderry Court Office
The Courthouse
Bishop Street
Londonderry BT48 6PQ
Phone: 028 7136 3448
Fax: 028 7137 2059
DX No: 3151 NR
E: londonderrycourthouse@courtsni.gov.uk

Newry Court Office
The Courthouse
23 New Street
Newry BT35 6AD
Phone: 028 3025 2040
Fax: 028 3026 9830
DX No: 2068 NR
E: newrycourthouse@courtsni.gov.uk

Omagh Court Office
The Courthouse
High Street
Omagh BT78 1DU
Phone: 028 8224 2056
Fax: 028 8225 1198
DX No: 3602 NR
E: omaghcourthouse@courtsni.gov.uk

High Court
Chichester Street
Belfast BT1 3JF
Phone: 028 9023 5111
Fax: 028 9031 3508
DX No: 456 NR
E: adminoffice@courtsni.gov.uk

Coroners Office
Mays Chambers
73 May Street
Belfast BT1 3JL
Phone: 028 9044 6800
Fax: 028 9044 6801
E: coronersoffice@courtsni.gov.uk

Customer Service Centre
PO Box 256
Londonderry
Phone: 028 7126 1329
Fax: 028 7137 2105
E: customerservicecentre@courtsni.gov.uk

The Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service
Communications Group
Laganside House
23 – 27 Oxford Street
Belfast BT1 3LA
Phone: 028 9032 8594
Text Phone: 028 9041 2920
Fax: 028 9072 8942
E: communicationsgroup@courtsni.gov.uk

Jury Service Isle of Man

Eligibility

All potential Jurors are selected at random from the Electoral Register.
You are eligible for Jury service if you:

  • ar