Jury duty in Western Australia

The jury system is an integral part of the judicial system and is coordinated by the Sheriff's Office in the Perth metropolitan area and the regions.

A jury is a group of 12 to 18 people randomly selected to decide whether an accused person in a criminal trial is either guilty or not guilty.

Jury duty is everyone's legal responsibility and requires the cooperation of employers, employees, the Government and the community to ensure this vital part of the justice system functions properly within our democracy.

Completing jury duty involves giving your time and effort for the period of time you have been summonsed. Undertaking jury duty can also provide a positive appreciation of the court system and is an opportunity to learn how the justice system works.

The Juries Act 1957 governs how juries must be administered in our state.

Watch the 15 minute video 'A Fair Trial' to understand what is involved in serving on a jury.

Keep your details up to date

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The electoral roll maintained by the Western Australian Electoral Commission (WAEC) is the source database for the jury selection. Potential jurors are randomly selected by computer. A summons for jury duty is posted to your current address, as recorded by the WAEC.

If you change your address and do not notify the WAEC of your new address then you may be fined if you do not comply with a summons issued to you. If this penalty is not paid then your driver's license could be suspended or subject to other enforcement actions.

It is important your contact information is up to date with the WA Electoral Commission. Visit the WAEC website to update or confirm your enrolment details.

Serving on a jury

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A summons is normally sent several weeks in advance of the trial date to give people sufficient time to arrange personal matters so they can attend jury duty. You may be able to defer your jury duty if circumstances are such that it would cause hardship to complete it on the date you have been summonsed. For more information, visit Deferring Jury Duty.

When you arrive for your jury duty you will be assembled and given all the information you need to know. This assembling process may take some time to complete, depending on the court. Delays in the jury empanelment assembling process may be the result of the judicial process of preparing a fair trial for an accused and we ask that you remain patient during this process.

The process of selecting a jury is carried out by random ballot. The selection of jurors for trials can occur on multiple days within a week. Jurors not chosen on any given day will be asked to return to work.

When in court another ballot occurs to select a jury. This is where 12 or more jurors are selected for the trial. Sometimes you may be challenged by one of the lawyers when your number is called. Please do not take offence to this process as it is simply a part of the method to create a balanced jury. Reasons for a challenge will not be given and are not required.

Once a jury has been selected they will be presented with relevant evidence regarding an accused person or persons. The jury is then required to deliberate and make a decision about the outcome of the trial.

An empaneled juror is required to attend daily until released by the judge.

Length of jury service

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A large portion of scheduled trials are normally completed within five days. However, there are times when trials will continue for longer periods. It is important you are prepared for the possibility of being on a long trial. If a long trial may cause you problems then it may be worthwhile to consider the option of applying to defer jury service well before the date summoned.

Offences and Penalties

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It is an offence to ignore the direction of a summons for jury duty.

This means that you must attend at the place and time stated on the summons served. People who ignore a jury summons may be fined up to $5,000 and failure to attend jury duty may result in an $800 infringement being issued.

If an infringement is issued and ignored then a final demand will be issued which will incur further costs. Failing to deal with this final demand will see the matter handed over to the Fines Enforcement Registry (FER) for enforcement. If the fine is sent to FER your driver’s license may be suspended and other sanctions may be applied.

Your jury summons

A summons for jury duty is posted to your current address as recorded by the WA Electoral Commission (WAEC).

If you move to another residence and do not notify the WAEC of your new address then you may not realise you have been summonsed. The consequences are that you could be fined for failing to obey the direction of a summons.

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

If you fail to turn up, as directed by your summons, an infringement for $800 will be issued.

As a person doing jury duty you are often given specific instructions, by the jury pool supervisor or jury officer, regarding times to return to the court. If you ignore these instructions then you could jeopardise court proceedings. If this happens you may also be fined. If you fail to obey the direction of the jury pool supervisor or jury officer or do not turn up after empanelment then you may be issued an $800 infringement.

Employers

Under the Juries Act 1957 it is an offence to act in any way prejudicial to an employee if they have received a summons for jury duty and you threaten or take action against the employee as a result of the summons.

There is a penalty of $10,000 for individual employers and $50,000 for corporations if as an employer you;

  1. terminate the employee's employment.
  2. cease remunerating the employee.
  3. reduce the employee's remuneration.
  4. or otherwise act so as to prejudice the employee in relation to his or her employment with the employer.
  5. threaten to take an action described in any of paragraphs (1) to (4).

For more information, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for Employers.

Court sitting times

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Courts normally sit between 10.00 am and 4.30 pm. However, these hours may vary according to the requirements of the trial judge. Lunch and short breaks are determined by the judge.

Meals are not provided except during the deliberation process when a juror is not able to leave the jury room. Most court locations have tea, coffee making facilities and a place to store your lunch. See Courthouse information below for more information.

Courthouse information

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Page reviewed 4 August 2020