Criminal Process and Lay People

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Jury Selection

The Central Summoning Bureau selects jurors at random from the electoral register. They select a larger number of jurors than is needed in order to cover those who may seek deferral or excusal.

The law covering selection of juries is contained in Juries Act 1974 and Criminal Justice Act 2003.

Jury Summons: are sent to potential jurors, it is a legal document which requires you to attend court. The summons will state date, time and court you are expected to attend. You are expected to send reply back to CSB. Potential Jurors chosen from electoral register: an annual canvas, requests names and D.O.B. for all those reciding in each property. 

Who is Eligible to do Jury Service?


  • 18-70 years
  • Registered on electoral roll
  • Resident in UK, Isle of Man or Channel Island for 5 years since age of 13.


  • on bail
  • imprisoned for life/ for public protection
  • Mental Health
  • suspended sentence/community order in the last ten years

Deferral (able to push it back for up to 12 months):

  • examination
  • holiday/operation booked
  • mother of young children


  • Member of Armed Forces
  • +65 years
  • Member of Parliament
  • Religious beliefs incompatible with jury service (discharge) 

Evaluation of Jury Selection Process:

+Entirely random

+simple and easy to understand

+reduces bias as religiously incompatible do not have to sit

+ decreases chance of jury knobbling, as it's completely random

+Accesible-electoral register

+ Civil duty (compulsory)

- Takes people out of life

- +70 may want to sit but not allowed

- not truely representative as certain social groups unable to sit (excused/deferred/not on electoral register)

- Compulsory nature- commitment?!

-Disqualified people still sit (inner london 1/24 jurors should be disqualified, Snaresbrook Crown Court man with 15 previous convictions sat on 3 cases)

Discharge of juror

A judge can discharge (remove) a juror at any stage during a trial if they appear to be "unsuitable to serve" (this is different to disqualified/excusal/deferral) 

At the beginning of a case, judge asks jurors if they know anyone involved with the case (judge/lawyer/defendant/witness etc) If so they will be asked to step down.

Judge can also discharge a juror at any point during the trial (for example: if they become ill, fall asleep, arrive drunk, or smell)

Jury Vetting

This can take two forms

  • Vetting for Criminal records- Police checks
  • Vetting in National security cases- Political vetting

Vetting for criminal convictions is now standard procedure but vetting in terrorist and national security cases require the approval of the Attorney General.

Political Vetting is only allowed where: 

  • issues of national security are involved
  • where part of the trial is held behind closed doors
  • terrorist cases

Why is vetting controversial

  • undermines random selection of jury
  • goes against European Convention of Human Rights
  • looks at your background and personal details

Jury Challenges

  • Challenge for Cause- used by Defence, can challenge any number of jurors. They must have a good enough reason, cannot be based on race, politics, occupation





Very helpful



which exam board is this with?

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