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Jury duty

(37 Posts)
Bluebirdonmyshoulder Wed 03-Apr-13 15:41:39

A friend has been summoned for jury duty and it's got me in a panic - I've never done it before and now it would be very very difficult to do due to bluechick's needs and numerous medical appointments. Do carers of children with SN get excused?

Sorry if this seems like a ridiculous thing to suddenly be worrying about but I'm wondering if it's best to be pro-active and apply for exemption (if such a thing exists) rather than wait and then tell them I can't do it if summoned.

I've got the notes in front of me now, the only reasons you are exempt automatically are if you are

1. on bail
2. have in the last 10 years served a prison sentence or received a suspended sentence, community order, rehab order etc.
3. have a disability of the mind which renders you incapable.
4. have done jury service in the last two years

If you cannot serve at any time in the next 12 months you may apply for excusal, you may need to provide evidence. So, being a long term carer is that one. Otherwise you may apply for deferral but have to supply dates within the year when you are available, so that is the option if it is because of holidays etc.

I really don't think there is much point worrying until it does happen though, it may well never happen. Or it may happen so far in the future that you are able to serve.

Also, I think one reason they won't do exemption in advance is because who is realistically going to think to inform them if their circumstances change such that they can serve? They would have to check with all the exempt people periodically which would cost a fortune. They can't have big pools of people automatically exempt otherwise the make-up of the population of jurors would get skewed.

Bluebirdonmyshoulder Fri 05-Apr-13 21:24:17

I agree that the circumstances under which blanket exemption is granted need to be very limited and believe me, I very much hope our circumstances improve in the future such that I don't have to think about this. I'd give all my limbs to make DD ok enough that jury duty is never an issue.

But I think it would make a lot of sense that people who receive Carers Allowance are excused for as long as they receive it. You've obviously already been assessed by 'the State' as the main carer for someone in receipt of DLA and so it would seem a no-brainer that you can't do jury duty.

And I maintain that it would be less disruptive to the courts to have a pro-active system of exemption.

Ironically I'd love to do jury duty!! The thought of being asked to sit in judgement on people makes me very happy! wink

vjg13 Fri 05-Apr-13 23:17:03

I did jury service about five years ago and it was a really sad, stressful and depressing experience.

However at the start of each trial they gave an indication of how long it was likely to last so jurors with exceptional circumstances wouldn't serve on that particular trial. Most only lasted 2 or 3 days.

There was also a colleague of mine who was only able to do 1 week and had a letter from the consultant she worked for explaining this and that was accepted.

I was glad I did it but would rather not do it again.

Also "disability of the mind" can help get you excused. If you are on anti-depressants, you are "on medication for mental health issues". They don't really like having people with mental health issues on the jury as the defence can get a mis-trial due to a member of the jury not being of sound mind!
Addmittedly I was going through a bad time back then and I quoted everything on my diagnosis, symptoms and which doctor I was under as well! It looked really bad on paper, but I got excused.

I'm going to be playing the autistic child card if necessary to get me out of a long trial, I feel bad "using" DS like that, but he really wouldn't cope well with a disruption that has no definite end point and his ASD does make greater demands of me as a carer than my other, NT, DC, I need regular contact with the school staff for example.

WRT to the carer's allowance thing, I guess that the two systems are totally unconnected but it would be possible to give it as a category for excusal on the summons. However I fear it would take a disproportionate amount of women out of the juror pool, as would a blanket exemption for those caring for small children which I have seen called for on MN in the past.

Sorry you had such a bad experience vjg. I have been imagining what it must have been like for the jurors on the Philpott case, just awful.

I've just finished my fourth jury duty, and I wouldn't say it was very representative - mostly working people, like me, and a handful of retired men. They read out a list of names, and loads if people weren't there - presumably they'd asked for exemptions.

Fourth!! <faints>

I thought I was unlucky having to do it twice.

I am in my late 40s...

vjg13 Fri 05-Apr-13 23:37:54

Yikes! Four times!!

So am I (just!). Which means there's plenty of time for a few more goes. I have not met anyone IRL who has done it more than once.

I dread this as well.

If I could access 'childcare' (for my 14 year old) I'd have a proper out of the home job. And would do things like go to the cinema.

Also what happens if (like me) you run your own business from home, with deadlines & there is no- one who can cover for you as it's highly specialised & v v niche?

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