If you're enrolled to vote, you can be asked to serve on a jury once every 2 years.
Being called for jury service
If you're chosen for jury service you'll receive a summons in the mail.
The summons will tell you what you need to do and when you need to be at court.
You’ll usually be told to come to court for a week, but you might not be selected for the final jury.
Some people aren't allowed to serve on a jury because of their work, criminal record or intellectual disabilities.
If you can’t attend
Your jury summons includes a response form to post back to court.
If you can't do jury service, you can use the response form to apply for:
- a deferral, which puts off your jury service until sometime in the next year
- an excusal, which excuses you from jury service this time, but you can be summoned again after 2 years
- a permanent excusal.
Excusals are hard to get. Deferrals are more common — you can apply for reasons like:
- your employer or family need you
- poor health
- having an exam on at the same time.
You need to provide proof with your application for a deferral or excusal.
Permanent excusals will be granted for things like:
- a disability that prevents you from being able to attend
- being aged over 65.
If you don't do your jury service and you haven't been excused, you can be fined up to $1,000.
When you get to court
Being summoned doesn't always mean you'll sit on a jury. There are three more steps before the final jury is chosen.
- When you get to court, the court registrar draws names out of a box. If your name is called, you'll go into the courtroom.
- When you're in the courtroom, names are drawn at random again. If your name is drawn, you'll be asked to walk to the jury box.
- Lawyers may call out "challenge" as you walk to the jury box. If you're challenged, you won't be on the jury for that trial.
Your role as a juror
You might be sitting in the courtroom for up to 2 hours at a time.
- not talk about the trial to anyone who is not on the jury
- not investigate the case yourself (and this includes searching the web for information)
- tell court staff if anything happens that means you can't hear the case fairly.
Your role is to decide on the facts after hearing all the evidence from witnesses, the prosecution, and the defence.
You'll discuss the case in the jury room with the other members of the jury and come to a decision.
There are rules for jurors, especially around social media and who you can talk to during the trial.
What happens next
After the trial you can:
- attend the sentencing hearing to find out the defendant’s sentence if they’ve been found guilty, or ask the court to tell you the sentence
- get counselling if you need it.
You must keep what happened in the jury room confidential.