Jury qualifications

To be eligible for jury service there are certain criteria that need to be fulfilled.

The Juries Act 1974 sets out who is eligible for jury service in the U.K. and The Criminal Justice Act 1988  increased age eligibility to 70 from 65. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 made further amendments to the law regarding jury service. 

To be eligible to serve on a jury you must be aged between 18 and 70. This is currently under review and in August 2013 Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green announced that the government will introduce legislation early in 2014 to increase the upper age limit for jurors to 75.

Your name must appear on the register of electors i.e you will be registered as an elector for local and Parliamentary elections. You must be a U.K resident (this includes the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man) for at least 5 years before your 18th birthday.

There are some instances when an eligible person can be excused jury service. The right to request to be excused from jury service currently only applies to those aged between 65 and 70.

Excusal at the court's discretion applies, amongst other things, to those who have served on a jury over the previous two years, doctors, nurses members of the armed forces or other people employed in what can be classed as essential jobs and those with a limited understanding of the English language. Excusal can also be allowed on childcare grounds or for pre-booked holidays but in these and other similar cases the applicant will not be excused jury service but it may be deferred to another time.

The Criminal Justice Act 2003, which came into force on 5 April 2004, extended the eligibility for jury service to occupations such as solicitors and police officers.

Certain groups are not able to serve on a jury because of their ineligibility these are:

  • Mentally disordered persons. This includes such people as those who suffer or have suffered from mental illness, psychopathic disorder or mental handicap and who are resident in a hospital or regularly attend for treatment by a doctor.

Certain groups are not able to serve on a jury not because of their ineligibility but because they have been disqualified these are:

  • An offender who has been sentenced to life or detained during Her Majesty's Pleasure, or imprisoned for 5 or more years:

  • An offender who has served a custodial sentence or a suspended sentence or a Community Service Order over the previous 10 years:

  • An offender who is on bail or who has been on probation over the previous 5 years.

For more information visit Jury service.

Juries - a wordsearch - Interactive

Your role as a juror MinistryofJusticeUK YouTube 

AQA AS Law - philipallan.co.uk

What are your options if summoned to jury duty? - Telegraph

Fewer now exempt from jury service - Telegraph

David Blunkett: Jury service made me realise how cynical lawyers ...

Sample - Jury Summons

10 things that jurors need to know | Law | theguardian.com

Is the internet destroying juries? | Law | The Guardian

 

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