MOJ extends jury service for the over 70’s

The Ministry of Justice has announced that the upper age limit for jury service will be raised from 70 to 75 years of age.

Government ministers say that the new age limit reflects the increasing life expectancy and will mean an additional 3 million eligible adults in the jury pool and will ensure that juries are more representative of the communities they serve.

The changes were announced 2 years ago, but it is now announced that the new age limit will come into force on the 1st December 2016.

It is reported that charity campaigners have welcomed the change Saga Charity director, Paul Green indicated “we are living longer healthier lives. It is great that the government has recognised the fact that older people not only have a great deal of life experience, but also remain astute, savvy and worldly-wise. They will be a valued addition to any jury. This is a common sense reform and should be applauded”.

Frequently asked questions regarding Jury Service

Can I serve on jury service?

Every person between the age of 18 and seventy (under 76 as of December 2016) who has been ordinarily resident in the UK, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for any period of at least 5 years since attaining the age of 13 is eligible for jury service, unless he or she is disqualified.

Persons who are disqualified are usually those who are detained under the Mental Health Act or detained in hospital on account of a mental disorder or have been deemed incapable by a judge by reason of a mental disorder. Other disqualifications include:

1. Those who are currently on bail.

2. Any person who has been sentenced to:

a. Life imprisonment.

b. Detention at her majesty’s pleasure or during the pleasure of the Secretary of State.

c. Imprisonment or for public protection (IPP)

d. An extended sentence.

e. A term of imprisonment or detention of five years or more.

3. Persons convicted of offences under the Juries Act 1974, Coroners and Justice Act 2009 or Armed Forces Act 2006 for example making false representations with the intent of evading jury service.

4. Any person who in the last ten years has;

a. Served any part of a custodial sentence, or;

b. Been sentenced to a suspended sentence.

c. Been sentenced to any community order, or any corresponding order in Scotland, Channel Islands, Northern Ireland or the Isle of Man.

How are juries selected?

Juries are selected from the Electoral Register which are provided to the Lord Chancellors Department by the local electoral registration officer who is required to indicate that persons who fall outside of the age restrictions.

The Lord Chancellors department are then responsible for issuing Jury Summonses and will take into account geographical factors and will have regard to places of residence and the desirability of selecting jurors within reasonable daily travelling distance of the Court Centre, but there is no restriction on the places in England and Wales at which a person may be required to attend.

What is the role of a juror?

The role of a juror is an important one. Usually jurors perform the role of deciding whether a defendant is guilty or not of a criminal offence at the Crown Court. However jurors can also be used during an inquest in the Coroners Court and also on occasions during libel trials at the High Court. Further information on the role of a juror and what you can expect can be found here or you can view the video below.

How are juries selected?

Juries are selected entirely at random from the Electoral Register which are provided to the Lord Chancellors Department by the local electoral registration officer who is required to indicate that persons who fall outside of the age restrictions.

The Lord Chancellors department are then responsible for issuing Jury Summonses and will take into account geographical factors and will have regard to places of residence and the desirability of selecting jurors within reasonable daily travelling distance of the Court Centre, but there is no restriction on the places in England and Wales at which a person may be required to attend.

Can I be excused from jury service?

Jury service is an important public duty and therefore excusal is very limited. The following are situations when you may be able to be excused from performing jury service.

1. If you have previously served on a jury and the Court had ordered excusal for a period which has not terminated. This is usually only applicable when you have served on jury which has sat through a lengthy tribunal, usually months.

2. If you are a full time serving member of the armed forces and your commanding officers certifies that an absence from duty would be prejudicial to the efficiency of the service.

The summoning officer has some discretion in allowing excusal, but guidance for officers stipulates that this should only be in extreme circumstances. Other instances where a summoning officer might excuse jury are service are;

1. Where he or she is satisfied that you have insufficient understanding of English, it is possible in these cases that you will be brought before a judge in the first instance for him or her to satisfy themselves as to your incapacity.

2. Where he or she is satisfied that you are a practising member of a religious order whose belief are incompatible with jury service.

3. Where there is evidence of unusual hardship such as if your run a small business. Applications of this type will be looked at closely and it is likely that the officer would defer, rather than excuse in the first instance.

4. If you are a student who depends on employment during holidays, but is then refused payment of loss of earnings as you have noit yet commenced the vocational employment.

5. Applications from teachers during term time, are likely to be deferred rather than excused.

6. MP’s will only be deferred to a time when parliamentary duties allow, they can be excused from performing duties in his or her constituency but this will simply mean that the duties will be performed elsewhere.

7. Those involved in the administration of justice, for example police officers, prison officers or employees of the Crown Prosecution Service may be excused unless there is a suitable alternative, for example a police officer may perform his duty at a different court which does not accept work from his or her police station, or employees of the Crown Prosecution Service may serve on a trial procuted by some other agency such as Revenue & Customs Prosecution Office.

8. Where you suffer with such a physical disability which would make jury service difficult to undertake. Medical evidence may need to be supplied.

Can jury service be deferred?

Jury service can be deferred if you are able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the appropriate officer of the court that there is a good reason. A good reason may be a pre-booked holiday or surgery, but evidence is likely to be needed in order to satisfy the officer of the “good reason”. If the officer agrees, you will be provided with a new date to attend court which is normally within 1 year of the original date on the summons.

Can I appeal against a decision to perform jury service

Yes, you can appeal against a decision f a summoning officer either to excuse or defer your attendance.

The appeal must be made to the Court in question and the appellant must set out the appeal in writing as soon as practicable and serve the application on the Court Officer.

The application must:

1. Attach a copy of the jury summons

2. Attach the refusal to excuse or postpone, and

3. Explain the reason why the court should excuse or defer.

The Court may allow the appeal to be made orally, may determine the appeal at a hearing in public or in private and without a hearing. But it should not determine an appeal unless the applicant has had a reasonable opportunity to make representations in person.

Do I get paid when on jury service?

If you are employed, your employer must give you time off work but can choose whether or not to pay you during jury service. If your employer does not pay you, you can claim loss of earning from the court. You can also claim other expenses such as travel costs and childcare. The current rates of payment are:

Travel and parking costs

How you travel to court
.....................The court will pay
Bus or undergroundCost of the ticket
TrainCost of the ticket (2nd class return fare)
Bicycle9.6p per mile
Motorcycle31.4p per mile
Car31.4p per mile - ask the court for permission if you need to pay for parking
Carfor one other juror as a passenger 4.2p per mile
Carfor each additional passenger 3.2p per mile
TaxiThe fare - ask the court for permission before using a taxi


Food and drink

Length of time each day you’re away from home or work ..................The court will pay up to
Up to and including 10 hours a day£5.71 per day
Over 10 hours a day£12.17 per day


Loss of earnings and other expenses

This includes the cost of employing a child-minder or carer, if it’s outside your usual care arrangements.

Length of jury service............Time spent each day............Maximum daily amount you can claim
First 10 days 4 hours or under £32.47
First 10 days Over 4 hours £64.95
Day 11 to day 200 4 hours or under £64.95
Day 11 to day 200 Over 4 hours £129.91
After day 201 4 hours or under £114.03
After day 201 Over 4 hours £228.06