Jury service is an important part of the Australian legal system and determining the outcome of civil and criminal cases. Most people will be called in for jury duty at some point in their life.
There are three steps to the selection of a jury. Firstly, potential jurors will be sent a Notice of Inclusion to tell them they are on the jury roll and could be selected to attend court in the next 12 months. After this occurs, a Jury Summons can be sent that requires a person to attend court on a particular day.
Lastly, on the day of the court, people who are summoned will be randomly selected. They might then be empanelled to sit on a particular trial.
Who is required to do jury duty?
Anyone over the age of 18 who is registered to vote in New South Wales can be called on for jury duty. However, there are people who are either excluded or exempt that will not be required to serve as a juror.
People who hold high public office or have public sector roles related to the courts and justice systems can be excluded from serving as a juror. Individuals who have a criminal conviction, are serving time in prison, or have lost their driver’s license can also be excluded.
You can apply to be exempt from jury duty if you have a particular occupation, such as medical practitioners and workers in emergency services. Individuals who have the full-time care of a sick, infirm, or disabled person can also be exempt.
Reasons for being excused
You can apply to be excused from jury duty if you have good cause. If you have a disability that would make you incapable of serving, or jury service would cause serious inconvenience for you, you may be excused.
Some instances include if you have a medical condition that would make jury service difficult, if you take care of children and are unable to make alternate arrangements, or if you are a sole trader.
You will have to apply a week before your summons date with supporting documents and receive confirmation of being excused.
What to do on your summons day
You should dress in neat, comfortable clothes that are respectful for court. You will need to bring your summons notice and a form of identification, as well as your bank account details for your payment.
It is a good idea to bring something to occupy your time as well as a snack, as the empanelling process may be lengthy. You will have to go through a screening process and may have to leave any bulky items at security desk.
You will be given a notebook to take any notes in that will be handed in to the court. Remember that your role requires you to be open-minded, fair, and impartial. You should not discuss your jury duty to anyone or share any material of the case.