Exemptions from jury service

If you're over 18 years old, you can be called for jury service. Some people aren't eligible for jury service or can get excused because of their job. The jury summons lists who can’t do jury service. There's no automatic exemption from jury service for being elderly.

Reasons for not completing jury service

You will not complete jury service because you are:

  • not qualified
  • disqualified
  • ineligible
  • excusable

Not qualified

If you're on bail, you cannot serve on a jury in the Crown Court. But you can serve on a jury in the High Court or a Coroner’s Court.

Disqualified

Having a criminal conviction doesn't automatically rule you out of jury service. However, you would be disqualified from serving on a jury if you:

  • were convicted by a court in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man and sentenced to five years or more in prison
  • were detained during Her Majesty’s pleasure or during the pleasure of the Secretary of State or during the pleasure of the Governor of Northern Ireland
  • have an indeterminate custodial sentence under Article 13 of the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2008
  • within the last 10 years in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, served any part of a sentence of imprisonment or detention; or were detained in a Young Offenders' Centre; or received a suspended sentence of imprisonment or an order for detention; or received a community service order or a community payback order with an unpaid work or other activity requirement imposed under section 227A or 227M of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 21995
  • within the last five years, been placed on probation or received a community payback order under section 277A of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 which did not include any unpaid work or other activity requirement under section 227A(2)(c)

If you ask to be excused from jury service because of a conviction, you must give confirm the conviction date and sentence you received.

Ineligible for jury service

You might be ineligible for jury service because of your job or the work you do. 

People employed in administration of justice

You're not eligible for jury service if:

  • you have or had a paid judicial job in any court of justice in Northern Ireland
  • you work or worked in another office belonging to any court of justice in Northern Ireland

You're ineligible for jury service if you had a job during the last 10 years with:

  • lay magistrates
  • the Chairman or President, the Vice-Chairman or Vice-President and the registrar and assistant registrar of any tribunal
  • barristers at law and solicitors – including those not currently practising
  • solicitors’ clerks
  • students of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland or of the Law Society of Northern Ireland
  • Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland and staff in the Public Prosecutions Service for Northern Ireland
  • Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland and the Chief Inspector’s staff
  • officers of the Northern Ireland Office or of the Ministry of Justice
  • officers of the Department of Justice
  • court security officers
  • governors, chaplains and other officers of, and members of independent monitoring boards for prisons, juvenile justice or attendance centres, remand or young offenders centres
  • the warden or staff in a bail hostel
  • members of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland
  • probation officers and anyone appointed to help them
  • police officers and anyone with the powers and privileges of a constable
  • members and staff of the Policing Board
  • members of the National Crime Agency and National Crime Agency officers
  • the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland and anyone employed by the Ombudsman
  • anyone in charge of, or employed in, a forensic science laboratory
  • prisoner custody officers
  • members and employees of the Criminal Cases Review Commission

People employed in defence forces

You aren't eligible for jury service if you're on full pay in any of the Crown naval, military or air forces raised in the United Kingdom.

Other people ineligible for jury service

You aren't eligible for jury service if:

  • you have a mental disorder
  • you don't understand English

Excusable as of right

The Courts Service doesn't automatically know your circumstances or your job. You might have a right to be excused from jury service, but you must claim that right. You need to ask to be excused when you complete the form of return.

Jobs and circumstances that allow you to claim you're excusable from jury service are:

Parliament

  • peers and peeresses entitled to receive writs of summons for the House of Lords
  • members of the House of Commons

Northern Ireland Assembly

  • members of the Northern Ireland Assembly
  • officers and servants of the Northern Ireland Assembly

Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive

  • members of the Scottish Parliament
  • members of the Scottish Executive
  • junior Scottish Ministers

European Parliament

  •  members of  the European Parliament

Public officials

  • the Assembly Ombudsman for Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Complaints
  • anyone in the Northern Ireland Civil Service receiving the maximum salary of the Grade 5 scale
  • the Chief Electoral Officer and anyone appointed to work with the Chief Electoral Officer
  • the Comptroller, the Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General for Northern Ireland and any Assistant Auditor General for Northern Ireland
  • the Auditor General for Scotland
  • the Secretary and any Director of the Northern Ireland Audit Office
  • officers employed by the Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • officers in charge of a head office in Northern Ireland of a department of the government of the United Kingdom
  • inspectors of schools
  • inspectors appointed under section 123 of the Mines Act (Northern Ireland)1969

Clergy or religious bodies

  • anyone in Holy Orders or a regular minister of any religious denomination
  • vowed members of any religious order living in a monastery, convent or other religious community
  • practising members of a religious society or order the tenets or beliefs of which are incompatible with jury service

Professions

  • professors and members of the teaching staff of a university or institution of further education
  • fulltime teachers in any school
  • masters of vessels, duly licensed pilots and lighthouse keepers

You can be excused from jury service if you have current professional registration as a practising:

  • medical practitioner (registered with the General Medical Council)
  • dentist
  • nurse
  • midwife
  • veterinary surgeon
  • veterinary practitioner
  • pharmaceutical chemist

Your professional registration can be provisional, temporary, full, enrolled or certified. 

People over 70 years old

You can asked to be excused from jury service if you're over 70 years old. 

Change in your personal circumstances

If your circumstances have changed since you received your jury notice and you're disqualified or become ineligible for jury service, you need to inform the Juries Officer.  You must send them the summons with your letter.

After you've been summoned to jury service, you might not be able to go to court for that time. Sometimes a judge can:

  • allow you to put back your service until a later date
  • excuse you for that sitting, a particular trial or period of time if you have a good reason

To read about making an application for excusal or deferral of your jury service, go to:

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