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Jury Background Information

The administration of the Jury System in Northern Ireland is governed by The Juries (NI) Order 1996 and Juries Regulations (NI) 1996.

The Order legislates that it is the responsibility of the Chief Electoral Officer to arrange the selection of a sufficient number of jurors from the register of electors and provide the Juries Officer for each County Court Division with a list of those persons selected who reside in their Division.

Juries are required for hearings at 12 Crown Court Venues within Northern Ireland. They are also required for some civil cases in the Royal Courts of Justice and Coroners cases at varying venues.

The Juries Officers serve the Jury Notices and Forms of Return on every person whose name is included in the list between the end of February and the beginning of March each year.

If the Form of Return is not completed and returned by a prospective juror then a reminder notice is issued approximately 6-10 weeks after the Jury Notice was issued.

The Jury Lists are then divided into panels. Jurors whose names are included in the list will then be summoned by the Juries Office to attend at such court or place specified in the Jury Summons.

Jury Summonses are issued together with a Notice to Accompany a Jury Summons and a Jury Allowance Form. This process normally commences mid-July/early August and continues in accordance with the Crown Court calendar and business requirements until the following June. Belfast calls panels monthly and most other court offices summons jurors every other month. The summonses are sent out 3-5 weeks in advance of the first day of Jury Service.

To view a list of the Juror Panel numbers which are currently required for service please click here.

You are liable for Jury Service if you are over 18 and registered as an elector subject to the following exceptions:

If you are summoned to attend for jury service the Judge has certain powers to defer your service until a later date or to excuse you for that sitting or in respect of a particular trial or period of time if you have a good reason.

You may, if you wish, make an application to defer your service or to be excused for a period of time or in respect of a particular trial.

In particular, the Judge:

(a) must excuse those persons excusable from Jury Service as of right;

(b) may divide the panel of jurors into sections and excuse those in one or more of the sections on specified days;

(c) may excuse a person who applies for excusal for a period of time or in respect of a particular trial if he is satisfied there is good reason;

(d) may defer a person’s service and amend the summons accordingly (but this power may only be exercised once in respect of each jury summons).

It is an offence knowingly to serve on a jury in the Crown Court if you are not qualified for jury service or in any court if you are disqualified for jury service. in either case this is punishable by a fine of up to £5000.

Failure to attend the court on the date and time notified on the summons or leaving the court thereafter without permission is punishable by a fine of up to £1000.