There are no formal qualifications for a Jury but there are certain qualifications that need to be met. They are set out in the Juries Act 1974. The qualifications are...
-Aged between 18 to 70
-Must be on the electoral register
-Must have been a UK citizen since age 13
A person can be disqualified for life from serving on a jury if they have received the following sentences:
-Imprisonment for life
-Detention at Her Majesty's Pleasure
-A term of imprisonment or detention of five or more years
A person will be disqualified from serving on a jury for ten years if they have received the following sentences within the last decade:
-Custodial sentences less than 5 years
-A community order
A person is also disqualified from sitting on the jury if they are on bail. Attending jury service and failing to declare any of the above is punishable with a £5000 fine.
-A person suffering from a ‘mental disorder’ as stated in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 is ineligible to be a juror
-Lacking capacity such as being blind, deaf, or unable to speak English makes a person ineligible for being a juror as they would not be able to properly fulfil the role.
A person who is selected for jury service can be excused if they fit the following criteria.
-Full time armed forces personnel (if their CO deems they are needed for duty)
-A person with good reason can be excused or have service deferred. This is at the discretion of the court and the reasons may be, examinations or illness.
Ignoring a summons for being a juror can be punished with a fine up to £1000. The CJA has changed who are ineligible for jury service. The Act abolished the rule that admin staff (police and lawyers) were ineligible for jury work.
Selection of Juries
A crown court official will, at random, pick potential jurors from the electoral register. The official tries to collect as many jurors as it can for the next fortnight of trials, up to 150 jurors at a time. Summons are sent electronically to the person telling then when they need to appear in court. In the first instance 15 jurors are chosen and they go into a court room. Twelve of the jurors are chosen by the court clerk. The jurors are shown a short films when they arrive in court which explains the behaviour required and the procedure.
There are some criticisms with the selection of jurors. Not everyone is on the electoral register but still can qualify to be a juror, there is no power to ensure a multi-racial jury as it is picked at random, excusals are used far too frequently and therefore it is now much more difficult to get an excusal.
Both the prosecution and the defence have the right to see…