Every trial starts with the selection of the jury. The court clerk will ask the defendant if he or she is ready for trial. The clerk will then begin to take out cards at random from a box and call out only the number on each card.
Please note that only your number will be called and your name, address and occupation will remain confidential during the entire proceedings. It is a criminal offence for anyone involved in the court proceedings to disclose this information without lawful authority.
If your number is called, you should make yourself known to the court security staff and make your way to the jury box at the front of the court. When several people are in the jury box, the court clerk will call out each number again.
As each juror number is called out either the prosecution or the defence may call out “challenge”. This is what is known as challenging for cause, it is not very common, but do not be alarmed, if it does happen to you. The legal representative who is seeking to challenge the juror will have to provide a good reason why you can’t serve as a juror in this case and it will be up to the judge to decide whether or not you can become a sworn juror.
Very occasionally when your number is called you may be required to stand by. This means that you will not be required to sit on this jury unless the jury list becomes exhausted when stand by’s will be recalled and you may then be sworn as a juror.
If no challenge or stand by are called out, then you will be invited to take the jurors oath. You can take the oath either by swearing or by affirming. If you prefer to swear, please hold the testament in your right hand and repeat the words of the oath after the court clerk. If you prefer to affirm, you do so without holding the testament.
The first person selected as a juror acts as the foreperson. He or she also acts as chairperson in the jury room and delivers the verdict to the court.
Twelve people are selected to form the jury for the duration of the case. Most trials are over the same day, but some trials can last much longer.
Your lunch will be provided by the court office.
If you are not selected today, the Judge will advise you when you need to come back to court for possible selection to another jury. The Judge will usually check that none of the sworn jurors know the defendant or have any connection with the case.
The two jury keepers who are sworn to look after the jury are court security staff. Their job is to make sure no one contacts the jury, and they serve as your means of communicating with others. After the jury is selected, the Judge will invite you to retire to the jury room so that other court business can be dealt with. This will give you the opportunity to meet your fellow jurors.
If you are carrying a mobile phone, you will be asked to hand it to the jury keepers when you go into the jury room. If there is anything you need, such as phoning relatives or employers, please ask the jury keepers.
The Court Service is committed to ensuring the safety of all court users and to eliminating the causes and potential causes of intimidation on court premises. In some cases, you may be asked to sit out of sight of the public gallery, or other security measures may be employed in or outside of the courtroom. These measures are specifically designed to afford each juror protection from the risk of intimidation allowing you to effectively carry out your jury service. Jurors should note that it is extremely rare for such security measures to be employed; however jurors should not be alarmed if their case is one with increased security arrangements.
If you need help please tell the jury keepers immediately.If an attempt is made to intimidate you outside court premises you should make this known to a member of court staff as soon as possible.