Jury Duty: Jurors - Frequently Asked Questions

A jury is a group of 12 to 18 people, chosen randomly who try the issue of facts and return a verdict in criminal trials.

Each year the Western Australian Electoral Commission (WAEC) provides the Sheriff of Western Australia with a new book of names, randomly chosen for possible selection for jury duty.

Anyone aged between 18 and 75 years and listed on the electoral roll within each jury district is eligible to receive a jury summons. Once you reach the age of 75 years old you are no longer eligible for jury duty.

What do I do when I receive a jury summons?

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Read all of the information. You must appear on the date and time and court location stated on your summons, unless you have deferred, are ineligible, not qualified or excused. For more information visit Deferring Jury Duty. Failure to respond to your summons may result in the issue of an $800 infringement.

If you have any difficulties understanding your summons for jury duty then contact the issuing court for assistance.

Why was I sent a summons again?

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Some people report they have been summoned for jury duty a number of times during the last few years, while other people they know have never been summoned.

Jurors are selected randomly by computer by the WAEC when jury books are created. A jury book is a list of names supplied by the WAEC, based on the electoral roll.

The number selected for the jury books is determined by the trial requirements and the population of the region. When jurors are required for a trial, The Sheriff’s Office then undertakes another random selection process to select people before summonses are sent out.

If you have already attended to serve as a juror in the past five years you may ask the summoning officer to be excused from jury duty. However, this can only be done if there are a sufficient number of other people are available for trials. Random selection helps to maintain the integrity of the jury system and ensures that tampering is not possible. This can mean that some people may be summoned on several occasions.

Why should I update my address with WA Electoral Commission?

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If you do not advise the WAEC of your change of address you may be summoned for jury duty and not be aware of this. If a person does not attend jury duty when summoned they may be issued an infringement for $800.

If an infringement is not dealt with, or is unpaid, it will automatically be forwarded to the Fines Enforcement Registry for enforcement. This may include a suspension of a driver's license or other sanctions.

It is very important that you update your address details with the WAEC. Visit the WAEC website to update or confirm your enrolment details.

Does my employer have to release me for jury duty?

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Yes. You should advise your employer that you have received a jury summons. See Frequently Asked Questions for Employers.

There are serious fines of $10,000 for an individual and $50,000 for a corporation for any employer that acts in a prejudicial manner when you have been summoned for jury duty.

For example, an employer cannot terminate your employment or reduce or cease remuneration or otherwise act to prejudice you in relation to your employment or threaten to do any of those things because you have been summoned to jury duty.

Employers must release you to attend jury service. We encourage you to talk to your employer about your summons for jury duty. In consultation with your employer you may wish to consider your option to defer. However, this decision remains with you and your employer cannot make this decision for you.

For more information on deferring jury duty, refer to Deferring Jury Duty.

What can I expect when I first attend?

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You will need to attend with your jury summons (complete the banking details section on the summons prior to attending) and some photo identification. In most courts you will be required to pass through a security check point after which your attendance will be recorded.

To protect your privacy, each person is allocated a number and in the following proceedings you will only be referred to by that number, rather than your name.

This will be followed by a formal induction process were you will be given detailed information and shown a DVD about jury service. This DVD provides an overview of the role of a juror and the proceedings within the courtroom. Jury officers are available to provide help and support you throughout the jury process. You can view the video online.

During this time you will be given further instructions regarding selection, discharge or re- attendance if not selected. You need to keep your employer informed of the progress of jury duty as sometimes there can be a break in the selection process and you may be able to return to work during this period.

For each trial a judge will conduct a random selection process, from those presented for jury duty, to empanel as a jury for that trial.

Am I paid for jury duty?

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No. Jury duty is a legal responsibility. Your employer is required by law to continue to pay your usual wages while you attend jury duty. This includes all employer types full time, part time and casual where there was an expectation of work.

Your employer must also pay you any shift and other allowances that were due to you at the time.

Your employer (except for a State Government department, instrumentality or trading concern) may then apply to be reimbursed those wages. Employers cannot claim for temporary staff employed to replace their employee on jury duty.

Attendance fees paid to the employee will be deducted from any loss of income claim.

For more information, refer to the reimbursement of wages and claims for payment page.

What about my mobile phone and the internet?

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Mobile phones must be turned off in courtrooms. Should you be empanelled as a juror, your jury officer will take care of your mobile phone while you are considering your verdict. While you are on jury duty you must not access the internet to research any aspect of jury service or the matters that you may be involved in if empanelled as a juror.

Also do not update Facebook, Twitter or any other social networking services with your involvement and location of the court you are attending. The purpose of these restrictions is to protect you as a potential juror and to protect the integrity of the judicial process.

Will my parking fees and fines be paid?

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No. The Sheriff reimburses return public transport costs only. If you are empaneled as a juror, you will be unable to return to your vehicle until the court is discharged. This may, on occasion, be late depending on the judge's requirements. To find out about parking in your area, visit the Courthouse Information section.

What do I need to wear?

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A neat standard of dress, including shoes, is required in court proceedings. As the air-conditioning in some courtrooms is quite cool, you may also wish to bring a jacket with you.

How many days will I be required?

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The duration of your jury duty is determined by the length and number of trials listed each week. You will be advised of the expected duration of trials on your first day of jury duty. The process of creating panels for Perth courts is complex and sometimes you may be required to wait for extended periods of time, or dismissed early or be required to attend on another day.

If you are empanelled as a juror, you will be required to attend daily until the trial concludes. Most trials are normally completed within five days. However, there are occasions when a trial may continue for several weeks. It is important that you prepare yourself for the chance of being on a long trial. If this is going to cause a problem then please discuss the option of applying for a deferral with the summoning officer as soon as you receive your summons. If you leave this to the last minute a deferral may not be possible.

How is a jury chosen?

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In the jury assembly area, a panel of potential jurors is selected at random for each trial and escorted to the courtroom by a jury officer. The charges against the accused are read out and if the accused pleads 'not guilty', 12 or more jurors will be empanelled by the Judge for that trial.

The process of selecting an empaneled jury involves randomly drawing individual cards from a box. These cards represent the numbers on the cards issued to those people presented to the court for possible selection.

If your number is called, you should move to the jury box to take a seat. At this point a lawyer may challenge your selection by calling out “Challenge”. If you are challenged, you should not be alarmed or upset. However, you must leave the jury box and return to your seat in the courtroom. Lawyers are not required to provide any reasons for the challenge.

Additional jurors are normally selected if a trial is going to run for a lengthy period. The judge will advise you of the anticipated length of the trial. The judge will also provide instructions prior to and at the completion of the trial.

What if I am not selected to sit on a jury?

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If you are not one of the jurors empanelled then follow the directions of the jury officer who will give you further instruction. You may be instructed to attend another court, return to work, return on another day or be discharged.

How can I verify I attended for jury duty?

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An attendance certificate can be provided to you on request which confirms the dates that you attended.

What can I expect if I am an empaneled juror?

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Once empaneled you are under the direct control of the judge for that trial.

You must be punctual throughout your jury service and always return at the required times so trials are not delayed. Problems with meeting any requirements made by the judge must be communicated through your jury officer for the judge to provide further directions.

Empaneled jurors are encouraged to maintain communications with their employers on the progress of their jury duty.

Court normally sits between 10.00 am and 4.30 pm Monday to Friday. These hours may vary according to the requirements of the trial judge. Empaneled jurors are required to attend at the times as instructed by their jury officer.

Will I be kept overnight?

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You will be free to return home at the end of each day until the final day when you retire to consider a verdict. On extremely rare occasions the judge may direct you to remain together as a jury and may order you to spend the night at a hotel under the care of the jury officer. This doesn’t happen very often. However, if this action is taken you will be alerted the previous day and advised to bring an overnight bag. You will then be provided with an evening meal and breakfast the following morning.

During this time, you will be unable to make any contact with family or friends. However in the case of emergency, the jury officer will facilitate contact between you and your family.

Will meals be provided?

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No. Meals are not provided unless ordered by the judge or if the jury is deliberating to consider the verdict during a meal period. Apart from this period, jurors should make arrangements to supply their own lunch. Tea and coffee facilities are available and a refrigerator and microwave may also be available at the court. See Courthouse Information for more information on facilities and details on food outlets in the area.

Will I be paid for using a child care facility?

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The Department of Justice will pay for child care on the days that you are required to attend court and the child is not normally in child care. The Child Care Centre must be a licensed childcare facility. You are responsible for making bookings, placing and collecting the child(ren) and knowing the business hours of the childcare provider. For more information relating to your obligations and payment options, please refer to the Child Care Information Sheet (PDF).

Page reviewed 4 August 2020