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Jury duty

Potential jurors are selected at random by a computer programme from the Electoral Register. Those chosen are then summoned to the first day of the next jury session of the Supreme Court.

If you are summoned, you will receive Guidance Notes for Jurors which will be given to you by the police officer serving the summons.

Where do I go for jury duty?

Court locations for those on jury duty are in Courts 1 and 3. Court 1 is in the Sessions House, 21 Parliament Street, Hamilton HM 12. The public entrance is through the main door on the east side. Court 3 is upstairs in the Old Fire Station at 113 Front Street, Hamilton HM 12 – the entrance is from the parking lot at the rear, up the outside steps. Parking at both locations is extremely limited, and can only be provided to sitting juries.

What time should I arrive for jury duty?

Court hours for trials are normally at 9.30 in the morning until 12.30 p.m. and from 2.30 p.m. until 4.30 p.m. This may vary according to how the trial is progressing. However, on days set for jury selection, which includes the first day of your service, you should arrive no later than 9.15 a.m.

Is there a place to eat or have my lunch?

Each Court has a separate room for the use of jury members, with a refrigerator and microwave oven. Refreshments (coffee/tea/juice) are provided during the mid-morning break, but lunch is your responsibility. If you have retired to consider your verdict over the lunch period, then lunch will be provided.

How should I dress for jury duty?

If selected to sit on a jury, it is important that you feel comfortable during the trial. Courts are formal places, and you should dress appropriately. The air-conditioning is set to be comfortable to those wearing suits and/or legal robes. This may seem cool if you are lightly dressed, and you should bear that in mind. The Court cannot be responsible for personal belongings, and it is wise to leave valuables at home.

Can I bring my cell-phone?

For security purposes cell-phones must be turned off at all times when in Court. Jurors are not allowed to take cell-phones into the jury room when considering their verdict and you will be asked to surrender them to the police officers.

What do I do if I have to leave in the middle of jury duty?

If jurors require leave for personal commitments or untoward incidents, such as illness or bereavement, during the course of a trial, you should contact the judge, who can be contacted through the jury officer or other members of the court staff.

The Court will allow short adjournments to accommodate important commitments, such as weddings and funerals.

How do I get excused or deferred from jury service?

To be excused from jury service, or to defer your service to another session, you must submit a written request to the Chief Justice. Requests should be made promptly upon receipt of the summons and well in advance before your first day of jury service. Requests made on the first day of jury service may be considered by the trial Judge.

If you have pre-booked travel plans, provide a copy of your itinerary with your written request, showing that tickets were purchased before service of the summons

Once the jury session has started, you should not make travel arrangements without receiving confirmation from the Chief Justice.
If you wish to be excused for medical reasons, you must provide a doctor’s letter with your written request.

Civil Servants who wish to claim an exemption due to their public duties must do so through the Head of the Civil service and not directly to the office of the Chief Justice.

All requests should be made in writing addressed to the Chief Justice and filed at the Supreme Court Registry.

Confidentiality

It is very important that persons sitting on jury duty maintain confidentiality and not discuss the case with anybody. This applies to everybody including spouses, parents and siblings, and includes either face to face, or over the telephone, or over the internet via chat lines or social networking sites. This continues to apply after the case is concluded.

The essence of the jury system is that all matters concerning the jury are private and confidential. This applies throughout the trial and continues even after it is concluded.  It also applies to refraining from conducting private research.

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