Open main menu

Jury duty or Jury service is service as a juror in a legal proceeding.


Juror selection processEdit

The prosecutor and defense can dismiss potential jurors for various reasons, which can vary from one state to another, and they can have a specific number of arbitrary dismissals, or unconditional peremptory challenge, which does not require specific reasons. The judge can also dismiss potential jurors.

Some courts had been sympathetic to jurors' privacy concerns and refer to jurors by number, and conduct voir dire in camera (i.e., in private). In the United States, there have also been Fifth Amendment challenges and medical privacy (e.g., HIPAA) objections to this.[1]


Australia uses an adversarial system, and potential jurors are randomly selected from an electoral roll.

Jurors receive a small payment for each day of attendance. Employers are also required to pay their employees "make-up pay", that is, the usual pay the employee would have earned from working, less the jury duty payment received from the state.[2] Under the National Employment Standards, make-up pay is required only for the first ten days of jury service - however the laws of Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia extend the make-up pay requirement for the entire duration of the jury service.[3]

New South WalesEdit

The jury system in New South Wales is administered by the Jury Services Branch of the Office of the Sheriff of New South Wales, an office in the New South Wales Department of Attorney General and Justice, and operates in accordance with the Jury Act 1977[4] and Jury Amendment Act 2010. These laws detail persons who are disqualified, ineligible, or may be excused from jury service are detailed. In addition, the Jury Exemption Act 1965[5][6] and section 7, "Excuse for cause",[7] of LRC Report 117 (2007) details other persons who can or may not serve as jurors or otherwise claim exemption.[8]

Individuals who are blind and/or deaf may be excluded from jury service.[9]

During the juror selection process, both parties can object to up to three potential jurors without providing reasons.[10]

The Office of the Sheriff of NSW disseminates resources for jurors.[11] Jurors may be compensated for their service.[12]

United KingdomEdit

According to 2016 figures from the Ministry of Justice, there is about a 35% chance of people in England and Wales being summoned for jury service over the course of their lifetime. In Scotland the percentage is much higher due to having a lower population as well having juries made up of 15 people as opposed to 12 people in England and Wales.[13]

United StatesEdit

Judicial proceeding means any action or suit, including any condemnation, preliminary, informational, or other proceeding of a judicial nature, but does not include an administrative proceeding (a summons or subpoena, to serve as a witness, by an administrative law judge). Administrative proceedings do not have juries; they are not informational or preliminary in nature and the judge makes the ultimate decisions.

When a person is called for jury duty in the United States, that service is mandatory and the person summoned for jury duty must attend. Failing to report for jury duty is illegal and usually results in an individual simply being placed back into the selection pool in addition to potential criminal prosecution. Repeatedly ignoring a jury summons without explanation will result in strict penalties, which may include being fined or a bench warrant issued for contempt of court.[14] Employers are not allowed to fire an employee for being called to jury duty, but they are typically not required to pay salaries during this time.[14] When attended, potential jurors may be asked to serve as a juror in a trial, or they may be dismissed.

In the United States, government employees are in a paid status of leave (in accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 6322[15]) for the duration spent serving as a juror (also known as court duty or court leave by some organizations). Many quasi-governmental organizations have adopted this provision into their contract manuals.[14] Accordingly, government employees are in a paid status as long as they have received a summons in connection with a judicial proceeding, by a court or authority responsible for the conduct of that proceeding to serve as a juror (or witness) in the District of Columbia or a state, territory, or possession of the United States, Puerto Rico, or the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

The Supreme Court of the United States has held, in Butler v. Perry, 240 U.S. 328 (1916), that the Thirteenth Amendment does not prohibit "enforcement of those duties which individuals owe to the state, such as services in the army, militia, on the jury, etc.".


Although jury duty is regarded as vital to the administration of justice and, as such, is considered a condition of U.S. citizenship,[16] jury duty has been criticized by some libertarian groups as a form of involuntary servitude[17] akin to conscription.[18] Jurors are essentially conscripts rather than volunteers and are reimbursed as little as five dollars per day, well below the federal minimum wage rate;[19] unwillingness to sit on trials expected to last months can occasionally result in dismissal from jury service, but such instances are rare if the juror is willing to be impartial to both parties.[20]

In both the United States and Canada jurors having conscientious objection to service are generally excused from service. This chiefly includes groups like the Amish, Old Order Mennonites, and Conservative Mennonites.

Jury scam in the United StatesEdit

In recent years, citizens of the United States have been targets of a "jury scam", wherein they are called by persons posing as officers from a court, claiming that the person did not show up for jury duty and that charges will be pressed.[21] Targets are then told that the matter can be resolved if personal information is given.

Federal courts mostly use the USPS, however, and calls do not require personal information.[21]


  1. ^ Hannaford P. L. (2001.) "Making the Case for Juror Privacy: A New Framework for Court Policies and Procedures", State Justice Institute.
  2. ^ "Jury duty". Fair Work Ombudsman. Australian Government. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  3. ^ Nedim, Ugur. "What Does Jury Duty Pay?". Sydney Criminal Lawyers. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  4. ^ "NSW Legislation". Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  5. ^ Jury Exemption Act 1965 — ComLaw, Australian Government
  6. ^ Jury Exemption Act 1965 (Cth)
  7. ^ Report 117 (2007) – Jury selection: 7. "Excuse for cause" — Law Reform Commission — Lawlink NSW
  8. ^ Report 117 (2007) – Jury selection — Law Reform Commission — Lawlink NSW
  9. ^ McCallum R. (2011.) "Participating in Political and Public Life", Alternative Law Journal.
  10. ^ Discussion Paper 12 (1985) – Criminal Procedure: The Jury in a Criminal Trial — Law Reform Commission — Lawlink NSW
  11. ^ Jury Service — CaTS Corporate New South Wales
  12. ^ Payment for jury service — CaTS Corporate New South Wales
  13. ^ "What is the chance of being called for jury service?". BBC. 17 March 2017.
  14. ^ a b c "Frequently Asked Questions About Juror Service in New Jersey" (PDF). New Jersey Judiciary Court System. June 2017. Retrieved 2017-09-07.
  15. ^ "Title 5: Government Organization and Employees — Justia". Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  16. ^ Abramson, Jeffrey B., We, the jury: the jury system and the ideal of democracy, Harvard University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-674-00430-2
  17. ^ "For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto – Murray N. Rothbard". Mises Institute. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  18. ^ Dorn, James A. (2006-07-24). "Abolish Jury 'Draft'". Cato Institute. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  19. ^ McCrea, Jerry (2011-07-04). "Rough economy makes filling N.J. juries more difficult, experts say". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2017-09-07.
  20. ^ U.S. v. Blagojevich (7th Circ. 2010)
  21. ^ a b "Juror Scams". Retrieved 2012-02-14.