If you're aged between 18 and 65 and are on the electoral register, you may be selected for jury service. Jurors are selected at random and can be called to sit on the jury for criminal trials, in either Court of High Court, or for Civil Cases in the Court of Session.
In a Scottish criminal trial the jury is made up of 15 people. Those 15 will be chosen from the larger number summoned.
You must do jury service if asked and it will usually be in a Court close to where you live. When asked to be on a jury you’ll be sent a ‘jury summons’ which must be completed within 7 days from when you receive it. Once you have confirmed you will then have to turn up to court on an agreed start date. If you don’t turn up on the agreed date, you could be fined £1,000 or even imprisoned.
How long does it last?
Jury service will usually last up to 10 working days but this may be longer, depending on the trial. Many trials last only 2 or 3 days so you may be on trial for another trial after.
What about my job?
Whilst the service is unpaid, you can claim for food and drink, travel and loss of earnings if you’re employer hasn’t agreed to continue to pay you through your service. As soon as you are summoned you should give your letter confirming your jury service to your employer.
Your employer must give you time off to take part in jury service, however you can ask to delay the service if your absence will have a serious effect on business.
Your employer may agree to carry on paying you, however if they don’t you can claim loss of earning from the court. To get this your employer must fill out a certificate of loss of earnings. You can apply to an employment tribunal if you have been unreasonably refused time off for jury service. If you have been sacked for doing jury service you can claim unfair dismissal.
Delaying jury service
You can delay jury service if you:
have a holiday booked,
having an operation.
Discussing the trial
It is important that you don’t discuss the case you are on the jury for, except with other members of the jury in the jury deliberation room.
It may be tempting to make reference to the case if it is interesting but you should avoid posting about the trial on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, even after the case has finished. This contempt of court and could result in you being fined or sent to prison.