Author Topic: Jury Service - what's your experience?  (Read 13488 times)

Jury Service - what's your experience?
« on: 14 January, 2015, 05:39:39 pm »
Looks like I am up for FOUR weeks of jury service.

Mixed emotions - it'll be a great life experience, my civic duty, probably pretty interesting as lucky enough to have been pulled up by Coroner's Court for a Death inquest, will be able to commute by bicycle (hopefully) and will have a proper break from the work stress unlike any other in the last 11 years.

On the other hand, work will suffer my absence quite badly and it looks like I'll be out of pocket as the claims cap for loss of earnings is well below average wage and I can't claim until after the event. Still, it is unavoidable and I am not wanting to defer with the risk of getting an even longer duty. Looks like the new wheels will not be happening after all.

Anyone else been a juror?  Did you take a big financial hit? Did your employer continue to pay your wages?  Interested in other people's experiences.

I am tempted to take myself off the electoral role after this in the hope it may prevent me getting picked again.  I'm not even sure they only pick off the electoral role but I'd not be surprised if it was the main selection process. I value my vote, but I value my home more.  It must be terrible for people called up on big murder trials lasting months.  Or those with families struggling to make ends meet.  I have a little saved up for new wheels which will cover me for those weeks. I see self employed people can get insurance cover for this very thing, which is strongly indicative of how damaging the system is. 

I know it needs to be done and I don't take issue with that, but I think people should be fairly and adequately compensated for the loss of earnings, as should businesses, from the state. Even if this meant an increase in tax to cover it. At the moment the system is allowing individuals to take a financial hit as part of their civic duty rather than the state sharing the cost of jury service equally through the population which benefits from it
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Euan Uzami

Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #1 on: 14 January, 2015, 05:51:54 pm »
Haven't done jury service but having often considered what I would do if I did, I know if I got called I would be very strongly suggesting to my employer that they should consider making up at least some of the difference between what the courts compensate and what I normally get, with the alternative that when I did return to work it might be to another employer. Viability of that might be industry-dependent however.

Is there not something whereby if you can demonstrate it would cause you financial hardship you can avoid it altogether? (not just defer)   ...  implication being juries are proportionally staffed by wealthier people as the poor are more likely to want to try to avoid, with all that entails.



Dibdib

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Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #2 on: 14 January, 2015, 06:06:51 pm »
I've been called up twice now. My only advice is to take a heavy book, it's a whole lot of hurry up and wait. One of those was for a longer-than-usual trial*, and they did ask if an extended absence from work would be a hardship.

My employers are pretty good, they carried on paying as normal and then deducted what I got from the court service after I got it paid.

* That was a fraud case, estimated to take six months or so. Thankfully after a day and a half of legal wrangling, the case got postponed and I got sent home.

Tim Hall

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Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #3 on: 14 January, 2015, 06:13:57 pm »
I've done it once, having been deferred for a year at my employer's request. (They actually asked for me to be excused). Anyway, employer kept paying my wages, mostly because they couldn't be bothered with the loss of earning claim thing. I was only on for two weeks though. 
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Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #4 on: 14 January, 2015, 06:21:38 pm »
They select from the unredacted electoral role so that wouldn't do any good and, yes, it's your civic duty.  Any employer worth working for will still pay you, or at least make up the shortfall. 

In criminal cases, barristers like to have jurors of similar background to their client and always used to find all sorts of spurious reasons why potential jurors should be discounted.  It's tightened up a lot recently though, apparently.

Coroners Court is a lot more relaxed with much less game-playing and you might find yourself in a lengthy and controversial inquest, although you're more likely to pick up a series of suicides, road deaths and medical jobs which will be thoroughly depressing with the caustic cocktail of lots of money sitting on the outcome and emotional relatives. 

Cornerstone of civilisation and all that though and somebody's got to do it.  Good luck!

rr

Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #5 on: 14 January, 2015, 06:26:41 pm »
Not sure about the loss of earnings, but you and/or your employer can ask to be excused on the grounds of hardship or damage to business.
Coroner's court can be interesting as the jurors can ask questions and take an active part in the hearing.

Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #6 on: 14 January, 2015, 06:32:46 pm »
Not sure about the loss of earnings, but you and/or your employer can ask to be excused on the grounds of hardship or damage to business.
Coroner's court can be interesting as the jurors can ask questions and take an active part in the hearing.

Can't be excused, only deferred.

Because I don't have dependants and I do have a little savings, I doubt I can claim (and probably wouldn't be ethical to claim) 'hardship' - it's just gutting to have to use savings to get me through State duty.

I'd rather go with what I have - predicted four weeks at Coroner's Court.  Like you say, could actually be quite interesting and I am quite looking forward to the actual 'duty' bit.
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Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #7 on: 14 January, 2015, 06:53:20 pm »
I think that it is entirely unreasonable that folk on average of below average incomes or folk whose employers cannot make up the shortfall are penalised for jury service.   As usual, the country runs on the assumption that we can all afford the hit.   I think it's called the Bullingdon Principle...

Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #8 on: 14 January, 2015, 06:54:56 pm »
Mrs. JJ recently did a fortnight jury service. On the plus side, like you she looked forward to it as a bit of a rest and the days were very short compared to those she usually works. She's also a bit of a natterer and really enjoyed meeting the other jurors and chewing their lugs off for them.  ;D

On the negative side, she works for the NHS who managed to bugger up the payment adjustment but when the dust settled we were about £300 out of pocket.  :(
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Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #9 on: 14 January, 2015, 07:46:29 pm »
Cornerstone of civilisation
Absolutely. Well, apart from all the other civilisations that don't use juries.  :D

I'm sure it'll be quite interesting.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #10 on: 14 January, 2015, 08:23:34 pm »
Quote
Coroners Court is a lot more relaxed with much less game-playing and you might find yourself in a lengthy and controversial inquest, although you're more likely to pick up a series of suicides, road deaths and medical jobs which will be thoroughly depressing with the caustic cocktail of lots of money sitting on the outcome and emotional relatives. 

It's not taken long to work out what inquest it will be with my attendance date, expected period of service and location. 

It is certainly will involve controversy, violence, murder and criminals  :o
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TheLurker

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Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #11 on: 14 January, 2015, 08:49:20 pm »
Financially I was OK, the company I work for is, for all its faults, prepared to grant special paid leave for Jury Service.

The job itself?  I guess it will depend upon the case. I found it quite dispiriting; a tawdry little affair in which neither accused nor accuser showed themselves to any advantage and which made me despair of my countrymen.

Nor is it something you can doze through and I wouldn't regard it as a "jolly".  Certainly not if you believe that even idiots deserve a fair trial and you realise that you will be reponsible for a decision that may very well have life changing repercussions for both sides even in a "tawdry little affair".

I also think that it is worth doing (barring the appalling lack of compensation for loss of earnings) as payment in kind for a moderately good and, sort of,  working legal system.

I'll get my coat now. It's the one hanging on the pulpit.
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Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #12 on: 14 January, 2015, 09:23:56 pm »
My employer grants special leave and pays full wages for jury service, but would be registering all kinds of objections if it was a lengthy case. I've been called three times, once cancelled the day before, once cancelled after two days of sitting around, and once picked for a theft trial. I enjoyed it, it was interesting, and I don't ever want to do it again.
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Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #13 on: 14 January, 2015, 10:19:30 pm »
I've done it twice, both times the Sheriff Court (i.e. neds having fisticuffs rather than grand larceny, fraud or murrrderr). Both times lasted 3-4 days. Both times boggling at the guff fellow jurors came out with. The first time I got paid by the court but was getting paid buffer all at the time, last time my employer paid me.
I pray I don't ever have a several week long trial, because putiing up with the same choice at the (crap Italian) lunch restaurant for a week was bad enough.
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Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #14 on: 14 January, 2015, 10:37:53 pm »
Been called twice, or maybe three times. Never selected.
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Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #15 on: 14 January, 2015, 11:41:36 pm »
I've done it once, many moons ago. I was being paid so badly by my employer at the time that I think I was actually better off for having done it.
I really wouldn't want to do it again at the moment since I have 2 jobs and one is paid for hours work with no contracted hours, so I wouldn't get paid if not there.

Morrisette

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Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #16 on: 15 January, 2015, 01:02:20 pm »
I think I'd get paid (not sure anyone has ever done jury service from my place) but no one else would do my work! Not sure it would be that relaxing really as I would (a) probably be called to Ipswich court which is a PITA hour-long train journey away and (b) still have to do as much work as possible probably on a laptop on said train journey and at lunch in Maccy Ds for the free wifi. At least the train tickets would be paid for. A four-week plus trial would be fairly disastrous from that point of view. 2 weeks (which I thought was the standard time required) would be doable. Can you defer in the hope of getting a shorter duty? I know if you defer you can state your availability so you can exclude any times work would be especially busy, for instance. I also know that you can get out of doing it if you can't get childcare cover, as the state won't pay for that (I wonder why?!) and obviously you can't take the kids to court with you.
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Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #17 on: 15 January, 2015, 01:08:55 pm »
I was called once, in the early 90s when my business was new and fragile with just a couple of employees. I got myself excused. To my regret I haven't been called again.

tiermat

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Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #18 on: 15 January, 2015, 01:09:25 pm »
Just get yourself a record, then you'll never be picked...
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LittleWheelsandBig

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Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #19 on: 15 January, 2015, 01:19:17 pm »
My dad said that turning up for jury duty in a suit and tie ensured he never had to actually serve on a jury.
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CommuteTooFar

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Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #20 on: 15 January, 2015, 01:25:55 pm »
I have done it twice. It mostly involved sitting around. 

The first time one of the cases involved the theft of a bicycle of course instinctively I wanted to hang the blighter but overall there was no clear case for conviction.

The second time I was asked if I could do a projected six month trial but they accepted my plea that I was returning to university next week. I was selected for another trial but the defendant changed his mind and pleaded guilty. I sat around in the Jury waiting room for four days of two weeks and was released from service.

As for payment I happened to be unemployed when they called me.  Quite nice really jury allowance is better than dole.
 

Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #21 on: 15 January, 2015, 01:34:45 pm »
I seem to remember quite enjoying it. It was not long after university and I wasn't earning much anyway so didn't really feel an economical hit - plus I was living at my parents at the time so had limited financial responsibilities. I do remember my employer didn't pay me though they just let me have the compensation so if I still worked for them now I'd be rather hard done by.

The crown court I attended was quite some distance away - my parents live in the countryside so cycling wasn't considered an option especially considering the lack of showers available. I took the bus as that proved a little more profitable (I seem to remember the bus fare they paid was more than I paid to the bus company) particularly as they didn't pay for using the car or town centre parking fees. I remember the bus rides seemed interminable and had usually finished or got bored of the book I took to read by the time I had arrived at court.

I sat around reading for the first half of the first week. When I did get called for a case the girl sat next to me raised her hand and said she thought she recognised one of the defendants so we were all sent out and it took another day before I got given another case.

The case itself didn't fill me with enthusiasm for either my fellow subjects or the justice system and it was wound up outside of court without us ever being told why or how it had ended - 'it's just one of those rules in the legal system' is a paraphrase of the judges summary. Presumably some deal was made between the legal teams and that was it. Seemed a waste of the previous four days we had been in court especially as we on the jury didn't get to make a decision.

After that I went home and returned to work by the second Wednesday as they decided another case wasn't going to come up before the end of the week.

My sister also did her duty last week and her judge had two cases on the go, one in the morning and one in the afternoon so she did half a day at work throughout the whole two weeks.

You might find they have called you for four weeks but it may not last anything like that long.

I didn't realise you could be called up twice.
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Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #22 on: 15 January, 2015, 02:18:55 pm »
Quote
I didn't realise you could be called up twice.

There is no restriction on how many times you can be called, although you can ask to be excused if you have served in the last two years.

A four-week plus trial would be fairly disastrous from that point of view. 2 weeks (which I thought was the standard time required) would be doable. Can you defer in the hope of getting a shorter duty? I know if you defer you can state your availability so you can exclude any times work would be especially busy, for instance.

I had considered this as an option but both myself and the boss figured it could potentially be worse and it wasn't worth the risk as the employer can only ask you to defer once.

2 weeks is standard, however, this is an death inquest and not a trial and they may be pretty accurate with their estimations as they know exactly what the information is that needs to be trawled through by the coroner and the Jury.  I may not even get picked I guess, although I don't know whether Coroner's inquests select jurors in the same way as criminal court?



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Biggsy

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Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #23 on: 15 January, 2015, 02:35:08 pm »
The "actual duty bit" was rubbish in my experience.  The case was so dull it was hard to keep mentally alert, and most of my fellow jurors were too shy/thick to contribute to the discussions.  It was many years ago but it still haunts me to this day that I didn't do very well myself as well, despite being elected the foreman!  I was only about 19.

Everything else was ok.  I was unemployed at the time so didn't claim expenses (beyond travel).
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Re: Jury Service - what's your experience?
« Reply #24 on: 15 January, 2015, 03:29:15 pm »
#firstworldproblem
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