Exemptions from jury service

If you are over 18 years of age you can be called for jury service. There are a number of reasons why you may not complete jury service. This could be because of your job or other circumstances.

Reasons for not completing jury service

You will not complete jury service because you are:

  • not qualified
  • disqualified
  • ineligible
  • excusable

You can find out more about the different exemptions on this page. But if you're not sure if any of the exemptions apply to you please speak to the Customer Service Centre.

If your circumstances have changed since you received your jury notice and you now fall into any of the categories listed on this page, you must write to the Juries Officer to let the court know. Make sure to send the summons with your letter. 

Sometimes, after you have been summoned to jury service, you might find you can't attend at that particular time. In some cases, a judge can allow you to put back your service until a later date or excuse you for that sitting, a particular trial or period of time if you have a good reason.

To find out more about making an application for excusal or deferral of your jury service, visit the following page.

Not qualified

If you are on bail in connection with an offence, you cannot serve on a jury in the Crown Court. However, you can serve on a jury in the High Court or a Coroner’s Court.

Disqualified

Having a criminal conviction does not automatically rule you out of jury service. However, you would be disqualified from serving on a jury if you have:

  • at anytime, been 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
  • been 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
  • 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 been 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 are asking to be excused from jury service because of a conviction you will need to give details of the conviction date and the sentence you received.

Ineligible

You can see a full list of jobs and circumstances under the headings below that would make you ineligible for jury service.

Persons concerned with the Administration of Justice

Anyone who has held or is holding a paid, judicial or other office belonging to any court of justice in Northern Ireland is ineligible.

You are also ineligible if you have worked in any of the following jobs in the justice system, within the last 10 years:

  • 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 practicing
  • 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 the members of staff of the Public Prosecutions Service for Northern Ireland
  • Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland and members of 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 a member of the staff of a bail hostel
  • members of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland
  • probation officers and anyone appointed to assist them
  • police officers and any other person who has 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

The Forces

  • anyone serving on full pay as members of any of the naval, military or air forces of the Crown raised in the United Kingdom

Other

  • anyone suffering from mental disorder
  • anyone unable to understand the English Language

Excusable as of right

You may have a right to be excused from jury service, but you must claim that right. This means that the Courts Service will not automatically know of your circumstances or your job, you must tell them and ask to be excused when you complete the form of return.

Below is a list of jobs and circumstances that would make you excusable.

Parliament

  • peers and peeresses entitled to receive writs of summons to attend 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 a salary on a scale the maximum of which is not lower than the maximum of the Grade 5 scale
  • the Chief Electoral Officer and anyone appointed to assist 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

Also anyone who is currently registered and practising one of the following professions (including provisionally or temporarily registered, enrolled or certified under the statutory provisions relating to that profession):

  • medical practitioners (registered with the General Medical Council)
  • dentists
  • nurses
  • midwives
  • veterinary surgeons and veterinary practitioners
  • pharmaceutical chemists

Persons aged over 70 years

Persons aged over 70 years.

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