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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 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?

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.

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

Yikes! Four times!!

I am in my late 40s...

Fourth!! <faints>

I thought I was unlucky having to do it twice.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

DiscoDonkey Fri 05-Apr-13 18:26:17

My mum is 65 and most aggrieved that she has never been called for jury service. There is a good chance you will never be called.

Inappropriatelyemployed Fri 05-Apr-13 18:18:32

"I'm slightly aggrieved actually that you think I'm trying to use my DD to shirk an important civic duty"

I am sorry but that is your take on it. I have never said anything of the sort. Of course, it is perfectly ok to ask about these things and see if there is any such thing as 'an exemption in advance'.

But, as others have said, I can only tell you that no one will give you a life long exemption because you are a carer. You won't get a future exemption because lives change for the better and worse. None of us can predict the future.

I am sorry if you don't like that answer but that is why I have said 'just deals with it IF it happens'. It has never happened to me or anyone I know and I am getting on!! So I was just trying to say - why stress???

Perhaps , as you are not facing jury duty at the moment,it is best not to fret too much about it.

Bluebirdonmyshoulder Fri 05-Apr-13 17:24:52

Just deal with it if and when it happens.

To be honest innappropriatelyemployed I would have thought that it's better to be pro-active and seek exemption in advance rather than wait to be called and then make excuses. But if there's no facility to do that then so be it.

It is a really important task so think very hard before saying you can't do it.

Yes I know it is. And completely impossible for me to do for the foreseeable future without DD suffering. I don't need to think hard about it, it's pretty obvious to me.

I'm slightly aggrieved actually that you think I'm trying to use my DD to shirk an important civic duty.

Icedcakeandflower Fri 05-Apr-13 15:05:13

IE, thanks for clarifying about jury vetting. It's good to have you back on here grin

whokilleddannylatimer Fri 05-Apr-13 13:50:27

You can be excused if you have a holiday booked, are a cater for small child and have no childcare/support or severe medical issues They will only excuse you once in 12 month period.

When my friend did it her work did not pay her as legally they don't have to and where as usually she got paid weekly she had to wait until the end of the trial plus ten days to claim money back, think trial was nine weeks or something similar.

Inappropriatelyemployed Fri 05-Apr-13 13:32:25

Icecake - we don't have jury vetting in this country save in the most extreme cases.There is no facility to question people on their personal views on justice so I am afraid the story you have been told is total rubbish.

Don't worry about it unless it happens and if it does, look at your circumstances, and if you really can't do it, explain why. This should be sufficient.

But there is no point planning ahead for something which might never happen and if it does,it might happen years in advance when your circumstances might be different.

WhoKnowsWhereTheChocolateGoes Fri 05-Apr-13 11:03:48

Having said that, I'm not too impressed about being called up for it again so soon (just under 5 years since I did it).

They played a mean trick on me yesterday - I got a letter saying "Due to a change in circumstances you are no longer required to attend for jury service on Tuesday 9th April". Hooray!

Then I read the rest of it which said - "Please attend on Weds 10th at 9.30am". Boo!

I am going to prepare my case in advance for not going on a long trial though; although I can manage childcare for a couple of weeks it is difficult and relying on a lot of favours from others, also DS has ASD and hates change to his routine. I shudder at the thought of getting on a really long case.

Icedcakeandflower Fri 05-Apr-13 10:28:08

You're right, WhoKnows, wrong choice of words in my post - I should have said deferment rather than exemption

I would love to go on jury service, but there is just no way that I can.

I've heard of somebody who got out of it by turning up on the day and expressing some extreme views on justice shock

Inappropriatelyemployed Fri 05-Apr-13 10:26:13

Whoknows - it is good to hear you say that. A lot of people find it very rewarding and it is good to see people from different walks of life in the jury. We can't leave it all to the pensioners!

Inappropriatelyemployed Fri 05-Apr-13 10:24:18

The CPS is the prosecution service. The court service summons juries.

I realise it is not possible for some people but if you are called and can make it, do try as diverse juries are really important. It is an important civic duty.

I know some people simply can't but don't dismiss it out of hand and really, don't worry about it unless it happens.

WhoKnowsWhereTheChocolateGoes Fri 05-Apr-13 10:21:52

I've done it and am doing it again next week. You can't get a blanket exemption in advance, but when you are summoned you get a leaflet explaining on what grounds you can be excused however the usual route is deferment, rather than exemption. I have heard of people getting off because of exams, childcare, medical grounds.

Although I didn't want to do it last time I have to say it was one of the most interesting experiences of my life.

Icedcakeandflower Fri 05-Apr-13 10:14:17

I should add to my previous post that I told them I was HE, so that might have contributed to my exemption.

Inappropriatelyemployed Fri 05-Apr-13 10:07:26

You haven't been called for jury duty though have you?

There is no exemption in advance. Certain groups are disqualified from being called but carers are not one of them.

I have never been called and most people haven't. Don't worry. Just deal with it if and when it happens.

It is a really important task so think very hard before saying you can't do it. Juries really need people with alsorts of different life experiences.

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