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  • Jury Service – What to expect?
  • Harry_the_Spider
    Full Member

    Mrs The Spider has been summoned to serve and is fretting.

    What can she realistically expect?

    Silly things like… will she be allowed to take a fork in with her lunch, how long is the day if you are on a Jury, what happens if you are not needed, what if the case has potential to be a long one and so on…?

    Any real life experiences that you can share?

    Minshull Street, Manchester if that makes any difference.

    franksinatra
    Full Member

    Lots of waiting around, cancellations, poor administration, time wasting and confusion.

    boobs
    Free Member

    That was my experience. Followed with go home on the Tuesday.

    jimw
    Free Member

    My experience was 10 years ago, not sure if any changes have been made post Covid.
    As above, take a good book and be prepared for lots of hanging around. I only sat in one trial that took the second half of the first day and the first half of the second. Was selected for a second trial on the third day but after a lot of waiting around the trial was cancelled as the defendant pleaded guilty just as we were about to go in. Not required after that so released for the remainder of the two weeks.
    Summed up, both fascinating (when in the courtroom and jury room for the trial) and dull (the rest of the time)

    kilo
    Full Member

    Lots of sitting about. Bring lunch, snacks and a good book.
    Once a trial starts it can be quite interesting.

    If the case is going to be a long one, or grotty, the judge should address this at the outset, before jury selection, last thing they want is a trial grinding to a halt halfway through.

    stevie750
    Full Member

    in Glasgow, so might be different
    You phone the day before and a message will tell you whether to turn up in court or not
    if it’s expected to be a long trial they will tell you in the jury summons
    If she gets picked she will be amazed at the level of detail and just how long basic stuff , like where it happened, takes
    courts are full of bad people so take care, we where told that sometimes folk would put used needles in the hand towel dispenser.

    fasthaggis
    Full Member

    Been on Jury service 3 times ,all were very interesting cases and I found each one (for different reasons)fascinating, a window into another world.
    As Frank says, there can be a lot of hanging around so tell her to take a good book.

    maccruiskeen
    Full Member

    If you do get selected you do get fed – so unless you have special dietary considerations no need to take anything more than a snack if that. And even if you do take food theres catering so theres cutlery.

    Different courts and different cases will vary – the only constant is a lot of waiting – even not getting selected takes a long time. If you do get selected you’ll wait around a lot, get sent home, have to wait to find out if you’re required to come in the next day.

    Its an important and potentially quite interesting thing to do but you dont feel very well treated – the court I did mine we we’re told to arrive at 8am, by lunchtime they hadn’t started the process of jury selection – several trials commencing so probably 100 or so potential jurors waiting for four or five hours……. no seats.

    Lots of sitting about

    Consider yourself lucky!

    So just prep for bordom and discomfort and probably expect to get cold. Its non the less pretty interesting but the interesting stuff is a very small part of the time commitment.

    mrlebowski
    Free Member

    Fair bit of sitting about waiting for something to happen.
    I wasn’t called on day 1 so went home by lunchtime. Day 2 was called & sat on an interesting 8 day trial. Day 9 was released.
    No real dramas & the baddies are kept a long, long way away from you. Not much to worry about really, expect it’s a bit boring if you don’t get called & waiting to be called can be boring.
    There was a cafe where I was so cutlery provided.
    I’d do it again quite happily.

    maccruiskeen
    Full Member

    last thing they want is a trial grinding to a halt halfway through.

    Halfway through – so at the 1 year mark? 🙂

    ‘We spent almost two years sitting on a jury’

    trail_rat
    Free Member

    i spent 2 weeks on jury duty in december last year – soul destroying

    If you had a good case then could be good. but mine was folk looking for a warm cell.

    db
    Full Member

    Many years ago my wife was at the Old Bailey in London, big murder/drugs trial. Took weeks, ended up being sequestered in a top London hotel, whole floor ‘locked down’ for them. No papers, no TV due to the trial being reported on. Coach with armed escort to and from the hotel due to previous witness intimidation. She liked it but heard some pretty gruesome details.

    Was a total pain for me! I just got a phone call (which had to listened in on by a jury keeper) saying I’m not coming home tonight!

    However pretty sure she was in the lucky/unlucky 1% and 99% of the time its boring.

    razorrazoo
    Full Member

    I’ve been called twice and Mrs RR once (this year).  Neither of us saw a trial (we were both called but the trials never started, assume due to a last minute plea) and were sent home early (as early as end of day 2, as late as strat of week 2) when the court got to a point that they had more than enough jurors for the cases that they had.  I was worried about getting selected for a long one (esp my first summons which was the Old Bailey so big cases) as the sole income in the house this would have been an issue.

    Both courts had large waiting rooms with a canteen area.  A set time for lunch and we’d be released to go and buy something outside of preferred.  I spent most of my time working (no issues with bringing in my laptop).

    convert
    Full Member

    Mine in December was a total let down.

    Scotland, so a slightly different system. Rang the number on the Monday and Tuesday (mine only started on the Tuesday) to listen to the recorded message telling me I wasn’t needed. By Wednesday they hadn’t bothered to update the message and it was still Tuesday’s. On the Thursday they hadn’t even bothered to turn the answerphone on; so I thought **** it – that’s me done then I guess.

    daviek
    Full Member

    I got away with not being in either of the juries that they were picking for. First day we got away at lunch time and the second my number wasn’t drawn for either so went home. That night called the number to see if I was needed a third day but no that was it. They did ask at the start of both trials if there was anyone who couldn’t take part for any reason and I’d say that everyone over 60 stood up and talked to one of the clerk’s. As mentioned above take a book!

    jhinwxm
    Free Member

    I got called up at the start of 2020. After looking into it I soon realised that it was more than likely I’d be out of pocket due to the pittance they offer for loss of earnings. Was happy to do it but not at my expense. So told them that and they removed me from it. Turns out that I would never have had to go because covid then hit and the world went bonkers.
    But the sheer bare faced cheek of them expecting you to lose out on your wages and then offer some paltry loss of earnings beggars belief. I’m astonished people actually do it. Unless you get paid by your employer then obviously that’s a different story. They should pay your salary when you are called up at the very minimum, anything else is insulting.

    FunkyDunc
    Free Member

    I did it last year.

    Take something to read, dont go expecting efficiency and professionalism, you feel like you could do a better job than some of the staff even those asking the questions in court (the state prosecutors tend to be shocking quality I guess because they are poorly paid compared to defence people). Lots of  ceremony, It isnt actually simple to follow once in you are in the court room and takes lots of concentration you will be tired by the end of the day. Sometimes you do feel like you are taking part in a TV drama or soap.

    I had 2 cases. The first the young ish prosecution person had quite clearly not read the file before turning up, kept calling people wrong names, didnt have a clue what to say next. The 2nd case, the old fella had clearly been good in his time, but clear was too old. He couldnt remember what to say, the defence lawyer kept prompting him, he even turned to the judge a few times for guidance.

    Everyone plays games ie evidence is presented that really isnt part of the case. In cross examination a solicitor tore in to a very  vulnerable witness in a way I thought was utterly disgusting, to the point I wanted to walk out.

    Lots of sitting around doing nothing, lots of sitting around doing nothing, and lots of sitting around doing nothing.

    You can just be getting in to the case and the next minute your are no longer needed due to a stupid comment made by a witness etc ie pointing out that the person in the dock is a drug dealer (although evident, its not part of the trial so all the dury have to be changed.)

    I would do it again, this time expecting to be bored, and not expecting to see out some juicy trial.

    Its is quite intimidating when you are sat fairly close to someone who has beaten people up, built like a brick, and you know is a nasty piece of work…. and then they walk past you as you go for a sandwich in your lunch break.

    nbt
    Full Member

    I went to Minshull street wehen I was called, the cafeteria wasn’t working there so we all went out and got sandwiches for lunch. IIRC you get an allowance for food.

    Be nice and poilte to the people running the registration desks. I was there on day 1 then sent home early afternoon and told to call in each evening to see if I’d be required to com in the following day. Was in work for 2 or 3days then got called back in, ended up on a trialf or a few days> I htikn that finished wednesday – might have been thursday – but was told I didn’t need to come back, thankfully.

    I got chatting to one of the admin staff who confirmed that the guys who’d been a total arse was required to come in and wait to be selected all day every day and was *ahem* highly unlikely to be selected, so was in essence just waiting folornly.

    I had a lucky escape, when I was there they were picking the jusy for a nasty arson case that was expected to last several weeks

    convert
    Full Member

    But the sheer bare faced cheek of them expecting you to lose out on your wages and then offer some paltry loss of earnings beggars belief. I’m astonished people actually do it. Unless you get paid by your employer then obviously that’s a different story. They should pay your salary when you are called up at the very minimum, anything else is insulting.

    Forgot to say – I got where I work to change their policy when I got my letter. It was previously that you were on unpaid leave and had to just claim the loss of earnings from the court – (in Scotland I think its £32 for half a day or £64 for every full day you are used). We make a big thing of being a very civic minded institution – and fortunately the exec agreed. I did some digging before I talked to them and its something like 66% of all companies including SMEs and 80% of companies with 250 staff or greater continue to pay their staff whilst on jury service. But agreed as a self employed person is sucks – especially if you can’t book jobs in and then don’t get used so can even claim the £60 odd per day.

    soundninjauk
    Full Member

    Ooh this interesting to me I’ve just been called up as well.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    But the sheer bare faced cheek of them expecting you to lose out on your wages and then offer some paltry loss of earnings beggars belief. I’m astonished people actually do it. Unless you get paid by your employer then obviously that’s a different story. They should pay your salary when you are called up at the very minimum, anything else is insulting.

    While I have sympathy for loss of wages, I think this is one of the few civic duties we are expected to actually take time out of ‘life’ to undertake. Our society and justice system relies on it, we don’t do it very often, and they are very sympathetic of self employed folk in my (limited) experience.

    My employer pays people still, and it seems a majority of companies do. I *think* my self employment health insurance back in the day had Jury cover.

    Middle_oab should have been there this week. However he phoned on Friday as instructed and was told not to attend as he was a student.

    jhinwxm
    Free Member

    Forgot to say – I got where I work to change their policy when I got my letter. It was previously that you were on unpaid leave and had to just claim the loss of earnings from the court – (in Scotland I think its £32 for half a day or £64 for every full day you are used). We make a big thing of being a very civic minded institution – and fortunately the exec agreed. I did some digging before I talked to them and its something like 66% of all companies including SMEs and 80% of companies with 250 staff or greater continue to pay their staff whilst on jury service. But agreed as a self employed person is sucks – especially if you can’t book jobs in and then don’t get used so can even claim the £60 odd per day.

    I’m not sure why any employer should pick up the bill for Jury service to be honest.

    jhinwxm
    Free Member

    While I have sympathy for loss of wages, I think this is one of the few civic duties we are expected to actually take time out of ‘life’ to undertake. Our society and justice system relies on it, we don’t do it very often, and they are very sympathetic of self employed folk in my (limited) experience.

    Ok, next time then I’ll tell that to my mortgage provider, utility bills and council tax etc etc when they don’t get paid. I’m sure they’d understand…..

    Unfortunately the real world doesn’t give a flying f***.

    thegeneralist
    Full Member

    In contrast to most of the comments above, she could get a really nasty one like my missus did.
    I never got any detail but it seemed to be someone who killed another family member, perhaps as a mercy killing, i don’t know. But the problem seemed to be not so much did x kill y, but also was x justified in killing y.
    My wife came home each day completely **** and took a few months to get over it. Very nasty.

    Or you might get lucky and need a book.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    I meant to add: mrs_oab did it. One day of waiting, waiting and waiting. One long morning of a case, where again she said the defence were ill-prepared and clearly trying a defence that was indefensible, and so at lunch the accused pleaded guilty. The jury waited a while as negotiations happened, then were dismissed.

    ayjaydoubleyou
    Full Member

    While I have sympathy for loss of wages, I think this is one of the few civic duties we are expected to actually take time out of ‘life’ to undertake.

    For those less civic minded, you can see how effectively forcing people to pay to be there, would perhaps cloud their objectivity regarding the justice system and their impartiallity towards the defendants?

    maccruiskeen
    Full Member

    Turns out that I would never have had to go because covid then hit and the world went bonkers.

    I sort of hoped covid would have resulted in some modernisation of the jury involvement in trials. My GF was called up for a trial during lockdown – but she wouldn’t have been in the court. For social distancing purposes the jury would be in a nearby theatre on a video link. (in practice although selected for the jury presumably the case was resolved without being heard so she didnt even got to the the theatre)

    It struck me that when I was on my case we were tied up from monday to Friday but usually only in the court for half a day at a time and only hearing the case for a few minutes a day. I’d guess all in we were present in the actual courtroom for about 45 minutes. Why did we have to be there at al if you can video it?

    I can’t think of a good reason why the jury can’t be selected and sworn in as usual… then go home. The trial proceedings are filmed. At the end the jury comes back and watches the film. Watch it twice if they like – make sure they absolutely understand whats going on. At present you’re making decisions based on un-noted recollections of something you say days, weeks, maybe months ago.

    While the jury’s role is important in the final decision they dont participate during the trial – its not an interactive role – I don’t think if I’d put my hand up and said ‘Actually judge I’ve got a few questions of my own I want to ask the witness’ it would have gone down well 🙂

    tpbiker
    Free Member

    Ok, next time then I’ll tell that to my mortgage provider, utility bills and council tax etc etc when they don’t get paid. I’m sure they’d understand

    agreed, I’m all for civic duty but not at the expense of me falling massively into debt through no fault of my own. I’m sure my employer would pay, but how does a self employed person on a longish case get by?

    Are the summons letters recorded. I’ve never been summoned (touch wood) but at same time I never bother opening most of my unsolicited mail, it just goes in the bin. Unless it’s clearly marked by someone like the dvla, if I’m not expecting it I just treat it as junk

    Trimix
    Free Member

    Its fair to suggest we should be civic minded and do our bit, but we should also expect to be treated efficiently, not have our time wasted and be compensated for our loss.

    Given just about everyone’s experience I would be looking to be excused as fast as possible.

    martinhutch
    Full Member

    Just pray she don’t get allocated to a complex fraud trial that’s going to take six weeks.

    flannol
    Free Member

    But the sheer bare faced cheek of them expecting you to lose out on your wages and then offer some paltry loss of earnings beggars belief. I’m astonished people actually do it. Unless you get paid by your employer then obviously that’s a different story. They should pay your salary when you are called up at the very minimum, anything else is insulting.

    +1

    Alright for employed folk. Absolute piss take for self employed. Day rate or nothing

    trail_rat
    Free Member

    Its fair to suggest we should be civic minded and do our bit, but we should also expect to be treated efficiently, not have our time wasted and be compensated for our loss.

    Agreed. Add to that the jury attendant should treat the jury with respect and not be on a complete bell end power trip….. One of the other guys on my jury got into a propper barney with ours …. He was a bellend though and complaints were lodged.

    Trimix
    Free Member

    So if you don’t want to go, can you just turn up looking like a nutter and get sent home right away.

    spacemonkey
    Full Member

    Alright for employed folk. Absolute piss take for self employed. Day rate or nothing

    Insurance like this might help. Could cost you £33/m membership though.

    sturdylad
    Free Member

    I’ve been selected too.
    Don’t want to do it, will be paid by work for max 2 weeks, if it ran on longer I’d lose out a lot. The allowance is a pittance.
    And don’t get me started on the food allowance, isn’t it about £7 a day or something insane, have they not tried shopping for food lately? (Convenience food/eating out I mean, I’m sure we could all find ways to do our own food for less than £7 a day at home)

    On top of all that it’s in a town that I loathe nearly as much as London!

    Regarding books, would a tablet with Kindle be OK or do they get funny about such modern tech?
    I guess I could handle the waiting around with a few good books and STW for company!

    tpbiker
    Free Member

    Can you claim hardship as a reason not to go?

    Although after 10 days you can claim around 130/day. If you aren’t paying tax on that then most folks would be ok, although high earners would still miss out.

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    the state prosecutors tend to be shocking quality I guess because they are poorly paid compared to defence people

    Most defence is on state aid, paying a paltry fixed price which for many barristers and lawyers results in them earning less than minimum wage once their true numbers of hours worked / on preparation time is factored in. Commercial law is far more rewarded, as a result the backlog and to some extent quality of those at the criminal bar is badly compromised. Sure, there will always be athe outlier ‘celebrity barrister’ type – but they aren’t defending shoplifters and drub addicts.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Why are criminal barristers taking part in an “unnecessary and irresponsible strike”?

    https://www.barcouncil.org.uk/resource/government-paying-junior-barristers-less-than-national-minimum-wage.html

    rOcKeTdOg
    Full Member

    My experience was horrific but that was the case not the system.
    Others who were on duty that week just sat reading books until lunch then they were sent home. The case I was only lasted 1.5 weeks and we found the person guilty in around 1 hour if deliberation.
    I really hope she doesn’t get something nasty as it still affects me now some 8 years later.

    dovebiker
    Full Member

    Did it about 5 years ago in Guildford for 2 weeks. Big employer and they agreed to continue to pay me. The only travel expenses they would pay were public transport, (not town centre parking) with receipts etc, no car mileage – there’s no direct public transport from where I lived to Guildford, so I ended up just driving to Park’n’Ride (free parking) and paying £2 bus fare. Seem to remember that supplied food was terrible so just went to M&S and bought sandwiches. First week, went in Monday, didn’t get selected for either of the trials so was sent home to come back the following week. Didn’t tell employer at time, just stayed at home! Back next Monday, got selected for a 4 day sexual assault trial to start the next day. Turns out it was a “she said, he said” kind of thing wrapped around a family feud. Jury couldn’t reach agreement or even majority so it went back for a re-trial. Lots of sitting around, so take a good book!

    footflaps
    Full Member

    But the sheer bare faced cheek of them expecting you to lose out on your wages and then offer some paltry loss of earnings beggars belief. I’m astonished people actually do it. Unless you get paid by your employer then obviously that’s a different story. They should pay your salary when you are called up at the very minimum, anything else is insulting.

    +1

    Expecting people to make a financial loss ‘helping’ the state is hardly going to ensure goodwill. They should at least pay the average full time wage rather than the pittance they offer.

    But then the barristers are also paid an absolute pittance by the state as well..

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