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Jury Service: Your Role as a Juror

As a rule, doing jury service is compulsory if you get called to sit in a trial as a juror in the United Kingdom. But, in some cases you can delay, or be excused from, doing jury duty.

Information in this section explains what to do when asked to do jury service, the implications of taking time off work, and how to claim expenses for attending court.

Jury Duty What to Expect

You must reply to a jury summons form within seven (7) days of receiving the letter. So, if the court asks you to carry out jury service, you can (either):

  • Fill in the requested details and then return the form using postal methods.
  • Reply to a jury summons online for yourself or for someone else (details below).

In some cases, you can get permission to delay jury service. But, without permission, receiving a jury summons form means you must fulfill the responsibilities of a juror sitting in a trial.

In case you were wondering:

The courts will try to arrange jury service as close as possible to the area where you are living. You would not get paid by the court for being summoned for jury duty.

Even so, you would be able to claim back some expenses (e.g. for drink, food, and travel). Some employers will not pay their employees for performing jury service. So, you would be able to claim for loss of earnings as well.

When You Cannot be on a Jury

There are certain circumstances when you would not be allowed to do jury duty (e.g. serving a prison sentence within the last ten years). HMCTS produce a guide to jury summons that explains what to do if you receive a jury summons form.

How Long is Jury Service UK?

As a general rule, the time spent doing jury service will last up to ten (10) working days. But, it can be longer. It is also possible to sit on more than one trial as a juror during the service.

Note:Failing to return the summons form, or not turning up for jury service, can result in a fine up to £1,000.

Replying to a Jury Summons

You can reply online or by postal methods to a letter asking you to perform jury duty. If you choose to respond to a jury summons online, you will be able to:

  • Confirm that you will be attending.
  • Make a request for special assistance at the court (e.g. for a disabled person).
  • Notify the court that you will not be available.

You would need to make a response no later than seven (7) days of receiving the letter. The information that you would need to provide includes:

  • Your juror number (found on the jury summons letter).
  • Your name and address as shown on the letter (you can correct any errors when replying).

Note: Failing to reply to a jury summons, or lying to avoid jury service, can result in a fine up to £1,000.

Getting Help to Use the Online Service

The Jury Central Summoning Bureau can provide technical assistance for people who might have some difficulties using a computer.

Jury Central Summoning Bureau
Email: [email protected]
Telephone:0300 456 1024
Welsh:0300 303 5173
Monday to Thursday: 9am to 5pm
Friday: 9am to 3pm
Information on call charges.

Note: Providing you have permission, you can also use the online service to reply for someone else. The information is also available in Welsh language (Cymraeg).

Replying to a Jury Summons by Post

Fill in the jury summons form and then mail it back to them within seven (7) days. The letter will include a stamped and addressed envelope, but you can use their mailing address if you lose it.

Jury Central Summoning Bureau
Pocock Street

Jury Summons Time Off Work

Employers must allow their employees time off work to perform public duties and services. But, you would need to provide your employer with a copy of the letter that confirms your jury service.

In some cases, your employer might ask you to delay your jury service. For example, if your absence from work is likely to have a serious effect on the business.

Wages During Jury Summons

The UK employment rules and regulations do not force employers to pay their staff for time served on jury duty. So, employees who do not get paid for time off work would be able to claim for loss of earnings from the court instead.

If You Have Problems with Your Employer

As a rule, you would be able to make a claim to an employment tribunal if your employer refuses to give you time off to conduct jury service.

What if you get sacked for jury service? In this case, you may qualify to claim unfair dismissal. But, you may not be eligible if your employer asked you to delay doing jury service – and you refused.

How to Defer Jury Service

Deferring jury service means you are delaying, or being excused from, your legal obligations as a juror.

Typical grounds for not being able to fulfill the role, include:

  • Having already booked a holiday.
  • Suffering from ill health (having an operation).
  • Not being able to get the time away from work (e.g. your employer refuses your request).

The Jury Deferral Process

You can only defer the role of sitting on a trial as a juror ‘one time’. You would need to write to the Jury Central Summoning Bureau and explain the reason for wanting to defer.

The letter should include some evidence that shows why you will not be available, such as:

  • Documented proof that you booked a holiday for the relevant dates.
  • A doctor’s note validating an illness or an operation.
  • Proof from your employer explaining why they are unable to grant the time off from work.

Note: You must also provide dates when you would be available during the 12 months following the time you were due to start jury duty.

Things You Should Take to Court

You will need to take some documentation with you on the first day of attendance in court, including:

  • The jury summons form (or the jury service confirmation letter).
  • Some method of proving your identification (e.g. your passport, photo driving licence, or Home Office documents that show your UK immigration status).

Taking Electronic Devices to Jury Duty

There should be no problem taking a mobile phone, laptop, or tablet through the security check at a court building. They will allow you to use electronic devices in the jury assembly area.

But, it is very unlikely that you will be able to take mobiles or personal computers into the courtroom or the deliberation room. You can store personal items in secure areas or lockers available at all courts.

Rules for Discussion of Trial

There are different types of criminal courts, but they all have strict rules on discussing case details during a trial. The only people you can discuss the trial with are the other jury members in the deliberation room.

As a juror, you must not talk about things that happened inside the deliberation room even after the trial is over (even to family members). But, you can talk about things that took place inside the courtroom.

Note: Posting comments about a trial on social media websites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) is contempt of court. Doing so can result in a fine or a prison sentence (even if you post after the trial has ended).

Being Approached about the Trial

It is not uncommon for people to approach jurors and ask them about the trial. You should inform a court officer if you get approached inside the court. Tell a police officer about the incident if you get approached outside the court premises.

If You Feel the Trial is Distressing

Jurors sometimes get upset about the details relevant to a trial and may want to discuss it with someone in private. The court staff have experience in these matters and will be able to offer advice.

Note: Your GP (doctor) will have details on what help is available if you need emotional support. Likewise, the Samaritans cannot give legal advice, but you can contact them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Expenses You Can Claim for Jury Service

There is a daily limit to the amount you can claim for doing jury service. But, you should be able to claim for:

  • Traveling expenses and costs for parking.
  • Food and drinks.
  • A contribution made towards a loss of earnings and other expenses (e.g. for a childminder)

Note: The first eight (8) weeks spent jury service will not affect financial support and benefits (e.g. the Jobseeker’s Allowance).

Claiming the Cost of Travel and Parking

Method Used for Traveling to Court The Amount that the Court Will Pay
Bus or the underground The full cost of the ticket
Train The full cost of the ticket (standard class return fare)
Bicycle 9.6 pence per mile
Motorcycle 31.4 pence per mile
Car 31.4 pence per mile (get the court’s permission if you have to pay for parking)
Car (if it includes one other juror as a passenger) 4.2 pence per mile
Car (for each additional passenger) 3.2 pence per mile
Taxi The full fare (get the court’s permission before hiring a taxi)

Claiming the Cost of Food and Drink

Length of Time Each Day Spent Away from Home or Work The Maximum Amount that the Court Will Pay
Up to and including ten (10) hours a day £5.71 per day
More than ten (10) hours a day £12.17 per day

Loss of Earnings (and other expenses)

The amount you can claim may include the cost of employing a childminder or a carer. But, it must be outside the usual care arrangements that you are using.

Length of Jury Duty Time Spent Per Day Maximum Daily Amount that You Can Claim
The first ten (10) days Up to four (4) hours £32.47
The first ten (10) days More than four (4) hours £64.95
Between eleven (11) and 200 days Up to four (4) hours £64.95
Between eleven (11) and 200 days More than four (4) hours £129.91
From 201 days and onward Up to four (4) hours £114.03
From 201 days and onward More than four (4) hours £228.06

Arranging Accommodation

It would be very unusual for the court to ask a juror to stay overnight. But, the court would arrange the accommodation if happens.

Making an Insurance Claim

In some cases, your insurance policy would allow for a compensation claim, such as for:

  • Loss of earnings for time spent on jury service.
  • The cancelation or rearrangement of a holiday.
  • The cost incurred to your business due to you (or your employees) doing jury service.

Note: The jury officer can supply you with any information needed from the court to help you make an insurance claim.

How to Claim Jury Service Expenses

You should wait until the end of your jury service before making a claim for expenses. But, make sure you claim no later than twelve (12) months after the jury service start date. As a rule, you will get paid within ten (10) working days of submitting a claim form.

Note: The court can make special payment arrangements for trials that may last a long time (e.g. longer than a few months).

You claim expenses by filling in the claim form inside the jury pack supplied to you at the beginning of jury service. Give it to the court along with all relevant receipts.

In some cases, you would also need to include:

  • A Certificate of Loss of Earnings or Benefit (completed by your employer or the benefits office).
  • Some evidence of loss of earnings for self-employed workers (e.g. the most recent tax return).
  • Some evidence of any other expenses (including expenses for arranging childcare).

Claiming for Childcare Expenses

The person who looks after your child would need to fill in the childcare form (supplied in the jury pack). They would need to add their Ofsted number to the form if you use a registered childminder.

Give the childcare form back to the court. The court would also need to see the passport or birth certificate of the child.

Note: The process differs if a family member or a friend is taking care of your children. In this case, they would need to write a letter stating how many hours they looked after the children.

Advice about Jury Service UK

You can contact the Jury Central Summoning Bureau if you have further questions about jury duty. They can:

  • Offer advice about the summons form or the legal obligations of doing jury service.
  • Arrange for you to visit the court (e.g. for a disabled person to see what facilities there are).

Contacting the Court

The court finder service helps you find the contact details for court and tribunal venues. You can also get extra information on directions, the facilities available, and progress of expenses claims.

Note: Short YouTube video [12:36 seconds] explains what to expect if you get called up to do jury duty.

Doing Jury Service in the United Kingdom