Jury Service: What You Need to Know if You Are Summoned to Court

The Jury Summons

First I knew about my Jury Service was when I received a Jury Summons letter through the post. It told me the court, date and time where I would be expected to attend. There was a date on it when the summons was issued and it stated that I had to reply within 7 days of receiving it.

called for jury service

The only other time I think I have been to court is to take out an injunction! At least that means I have some sort of experience!

What is Jury Service?

Jury Service in the UK is when 12 people decide the result of a criminal trial in the Crown Court. Every adult aged over 18 and under 76 that lives in the UK can be randomly selected from the Electoral Roll. There are some exceptions whereby some people cannot stand for jury. Whether you think this is the case or not you must reply to the jury summons.

Replying to the Jury Summons

Replying to the Jury Summons could either be done online www.gov.uk/reply-jury-summons or by post. If it was not replied to there was the possibility of a fine of up to £1,000. With the Royal Mail strikes too I did not fancy the risk of it not arriving so did it online.

reply to a jury summons by post or online

What to Expect when Replying to a Jury Summons

To apply online you need to know the 9 digit juror number, your last name and your postcode.

Everything asked of you online will be the same as the paper copy they send you. You need to check that the details for you are correct; provide them with your date of birth,  phone numbers and an e-mail address (if you have one).

You are then asked questions which ensure that you qualify for jury service.

Questions about Qualifying

The questions are:

  • If you have lived in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for more than five consecutive years, since your 13th birthday?
  • Whether you have been detained (sectioned) or likely to be under the Mental Health Act 1983.
  • If you lack capacity as stated in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (note the form can be filled in by someone else – it is the first thing they ask)
  • Are you on bail for a criminal offence?
  • Have you been found guilty of a criminal offence and been given a prison sentence, community order or suspended prison sentence?
people who cannot do jury service in the UK

Questions About the Date

The dates of your Jury Service can be changed if you have a good reason. This can only be changed once.  Jury Service usually starts on a Monday and can last for up to 10 working days (but can be longer).

If you need to change the dates then there’s a section for you to add 3 dates where you could start in the next 12 months.

Other Questions Asked

You will also be asked if you have worked for the Criminal Justice System and if you need any help when you are at court.

Allowances for Jury Service

You are not paid for your time during Jury Service but there are some allowances you can claim for. These are loss of earnings, extra child care costs, travel, and food.

If you are on benefits then they will not be affected for at least 8 weeks – as long as you tell your benefits officer or work coach.

money lose change coins falling out of a wallet
Photo by pina messina on Unsplash

Being Excused from Jury Service

You do not need to do jury service if you have done it previously in the last two years or are currently serving full-time in the armed forces. For other reasons you should provide full details and proof if possible – for example a doctor’s letter if you are too ill.

Personally I have caring responsibilities but these are as such that they can be worked round for a short period of time. If you cannot then I assume this will be reason enough.


  • You will then receive a confirmation by e-mail (if you provided one) and a letter through the post.
  • This tells you what will happen next (including if you have asked for a deferral or to be excused).
  • In the e-mail there is a link to this YouTube video and information about rules on discussing the trial and again expenses.
  • The letter will tell you more local information to do with the court you have been summoned to.
  • Also a booklet “Your guide to Jury Service” – this has lots of information about what to expect. There’s also numbers to call if you have any more questions.
jury service

To be honest any questions I have seem so stupid – like are the seats uncomfortable? Can I sit on anything to make them more so? As I don’t actually have a diagnosis of anything I didn’t want to be awkward and ask for more information.

For instance I read somewhere that the Foreman will be selected (the person who delivers the verdict) and elsewhere I read that the members of the Jury will decide who that is. You have to get it right so I am a bit anxious that they could select me, so I would rather know beforehand if that’s a possibility.

Personally I would like pictures of what it looks like before I go. But you aren’t allowed to take pictures so I can’t even find any online! Plus it is an offence to discuss the trial even after it has finished.

Have you sat on a jury? Is there anything you can tell/me what to expect that we are allowed to talk about? I get the feeling that I may get a chance to read my books! Plus I may still not even get selected!


4 thoughts on “Jury Service: What You Need to Know if You Are Summoned to Court”

  1. I have always wanted to do Jury service but I’ve never been called for yet. In fact I don’t think I know anyone who has done it. My dad was called for Jury service a couple of years ago but was still ill with long Covid so he got himself out of it. x


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