This information attempts to answer the more common queries but is for guidance only and must not be interpreted as in any way varying the terms of your summons.
Service of jury summons
The law does not require personal service, though this is achieved as far as possible, and delivery at your home address is sufficient. Bearing in mind that the penalties for non-appearance are serious, reasonable enquiries will have been made to ensure that you have received your summons. However, in the event that you have received a summons instead of the person to whom it is addressed and you are aware of that person being out of the Island or otherwise unable to attend, it is essential that you advise the Corporate Services Section, Viscounts Department as soon as possible.
If the summons is left at your premises and not served on you personally, ring the number given on the summons to confirm receipt at the very earliest opportunity.
Am I eligible to serve?
You must be at least 25 years of age but not yet 65 years of age. Previous convictions, by a court, of certain types may disqualify a person from serving. If you have any doubt as to whether you may be disqualified in this way you should contact the department, in complete confidence, as soon as possible. Minor convictions for motoring offences are not relevant. Also, it is not necessary for you to be a home-owner or a rate-payer
Will I have to serve as a juror?
In order to ensure, as far as possible, that a jury can be formed more persons are summoned than are actually needed (12 persons are required to constitute a jury). It may be therefore that your services will not be required but you must nevertheless attend and not leave the court until you are clearly told by the court that your services are not needed.
How long will I be needed for?
It is impossible to forecast precisely the duration of a trial and if you are selected as a juror you are required to attend as long as is necessary to complete the trial or trials. However, the vast majority of trials are completed within the week. If it is anticipated that a trial may take longer you will normally be given an indication of this.
Am I entitled to exemption?
Certain professions and employments entitle persons to exemption as of right (eg doctors, dentists) but that does not mean that these persons need do nothing - it is still necessary for a written application for exemption to be made and a certificate of exemption to be granted to be certain that you have been formally released from attendance.
The Viscount is generally empowered by law to grant exemption in such circumstances as he thinks fit but you will appreciate that, while it may cause personal inconvenience or some degree of financial hardship, jury service is an important public duty essential to the administration of justice. Accordingly, exemptions are only granted in exceptional circumstances where insistence on attendance would give rise to particular hardship or difficulty.
How do I apply for exemption?
If you believe you have proper grounds for seeking exemption you should immediately either:
(a) write to the Principal Enforcement Officer setting out the grounds of your application
(b) telephone the department for advice.
What will happen if I apply for exemption?
You will either receive a formal certificate releasing you from attendance or a letter rejecting your application which will then be referred to the court itself at the beginning of the Assize.
Your attention is drawn to the fact that it is a discourtesy to the court to attend inappropriately dressed. For example, gentlemen are expected to wear ties and jackets.
Unless you have previously been granted exemption you must be in court promptly (we suggest by 9.50am) on the first day of the trial. An officer of this department will be on duty at the public entrance to the Royal Court and will conduct you to the room set aside for the jury and then into the court before 10am.
We regret that it is not generally possible to make special parking facilities available so that, if you will be travelling by car, you should allow yourself sufficient time to make adequate parking arrangements.
If you are subsequently sworn in to serve on the jury you may obtain from the department a disc which will enable you to park free of charge at the Pier Road car park only on those days on which you are required at court.
The sittings of the court will begin at 10am., unless you are notified otherwise, and will normally finish between 5 and 5.15pm. The finishing time may be later at the conclusion of a case when the Jury must remain until it reaches a verdict. The court does not sit on public holidays and is unlikely to do so on Saturdays.
If you serve on the jury, lunch will be provided for you at a hotel - you will not be able to go home or take your usual lunch arrangements. As the hotel concerned involves a walk of about 500 yards you should, in times of bad weather, bring adequate rain wear.
You will be permitted to return home normally each evening but you are not permitted to discuss the case which you are trying with anyone (even a member of your family) until you do so with the other members of the jury at the end of the trial. You may expect to receive directions on this from the presiding Judge (Bailiff or Deputy Bailiff).
During any adjournments for lunch or otherwise you must remain in the custody of the officers of the department. The rules for ensuring that the jury are not influenced by anything other than the evidence they hear in court are necessarily strict. You must therefore comply with any instructions given to you by the court or members of this department. The use of mobile telephones during these adjournments is not permitted. If you are required as a juror we will give you further advice at the beginning of the trial and we will be available to answer any other questions you have, provided that it is proper to do so.
It is usually inevitable that the names of jurors are called out in open court during the swearing-in. However it has been agreed that the media (press, television and radio) will not be provided with any list of jurors or publish their names.