Avoiding Jury Service
“How do I get out of jury service” is the first question that springs to mind when people receive a summons to attend court for jury duty. While there are acceptable reasons for avoiding jury duty, generally it is a not something that you can “get out of”. If you have a pre-booked holiday or medical procedure, the preferred course of action is to defer your jury service to another date.
Before trying to avoid jury service it may be an idea to consider the following points:
- Trial by Jury, whatever it’s advantages and disadvantages, is at the heart of the the Legal System and as a citizen, it is your civic duty to take part in the process
- It’s actually really interesting! Court trials may be slow moving and at times confusing or upsetting, but jury service offers a fascinating insight into a world many of us never see. A world of drug dealers, violence and forensics and police investigations. It’s a true life experience. Why would you want to avoid it?
- You generally get quite short days. My recent jury service involved attending court from 10:00 until 16:00 or 16:30
Having said that, in some cases jury service is not permitted. For Example:
- If a juror has an insufficient understanding of English to follow the court proceedings they would typically be excused from jury service
- Owners or employees of small businesses may, in some circumstances, be excused
- Certain disabilities may make it impossible to attend court and again, these people may be excused
Official guidance can be found in the Crown Document “Guidance for summoning officers when considering deferral and excusal applications”