Jury duty can be an intimidating time for people. You may feel unsure what you can and can’t do, what you can and can’t say etc. Knowing what to expect can make the process easier and help you fulfil your duties as part of the jury.
The first part of jury duty is receiving a letter. This will let you know when you are expected to attend court. Unless you have a valid reason, you are expected to attend, and if you can’t, you may be asked to at a later date. It is also important to check when you are required to attend. If you are sick and unable to attend it is important that you call before 9.30am on the day of any court hearing.
Before attending, you need to make sure you bring some form of ID such as a passport or a photo driving license. It is recommended you use public transport to get there, as you won’t be able to leave when you are attending court to update the ticket on your parked car.
The first day
You will be initially directed to your area in the courtroom, while a court official and video should answer any questions you might have. It is at this point that any criminal convictions should be declared to court staff. After this, the clerk of the court will make a roll call of jurors in private.
You will be given a claim form to cover any expenses such as travel, food or any loss of earnings that occur during jury duty. In order to receive compensation, you have to fill in the form no later than 14 days after you have finished.
Even though you have been summoned, you may not be required to be on a jury straight away. You are only officially required to do this once you have been sworn in. This can involve a lot of waiting around, so it is recommended that you bring books, magazines or phones to allow for something to do in the waiting room.
It cannot be emphasised enough that while you can do this in the waiting room, these items can’t be taken into the courtroom. If you are not sure what can or can’t be taken in you should ask this on the first day before being sworn in.
Courts often bring in more jurors than they necessarily need in order to cover illnesses, people declaring they are unfit for the duty, etc. While the court will try to do this as quickly as possible, it may mean waiting a while before finding out you aren’t needed. While this can be frustrating, it is worth knowing this. Also, it should be said if you aren’t required then you cannot claim expenses for this.
If you have been summoned to a jury and you are concerned about what you specifically can or can’t do, please contact us today so we can discuss this with you and help prepare you.