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jury service

(22 Posts)
lazylump72 Sun 27-Sep-20 18:30:24

Has anyone done this recently? If so what time of an evening did you roughly finish for the day?

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BackforGood Sun 27-Sep-20 23:46:58

I did last year.
I don't think we were ever there after 4pm, but quite often it was before.

Magissa Mon 28-Sep-20 00:08:25

I did it a year ago. I was on a long case. The judge promised we would always be out by 4.30 at the latest and we were. Often finished by 3.30.

TartanDMs Mon 28-Sep-20 01:06:41

Following as I'm doing it next week and also interested in knowing! How frequently do cases run over the two weeks? I've managed to elicit a 50/50 average from speaking to friends who have done it - two people were under two weeks, two people were over (one had a 3 month trial!).

TheSandman Mon 28-Sep-20 01:24:50

When I did it a few years ago now, at the local sheriff's court, we were done and dusted in a couple of days. Three at most.

BarbaraofSeville Mon 28-Sep-20 07:36:25

The time of day you have to be there is fairly short (9.30/10 until around 4 at the latest, with an hour's lunch break).

I think they warn you in advance if there's a chance they'll need you for more than two weeks so you can get your excuses in order if selected for that trial.

When I did it, we were prewarned about a trial that was expected to last 6 weeks and clearly many were reluctant to do it. I got a letter from my employer saying they couldn't spare me for that length of time at very short notice - we were only told a few days beforehand. Other people were excused due to caring responsibilities or prebooked holidays.

You'll spend a lot of time sitting around wondering how it could be possible for the process to be as inefficient as it is.

In 2 weeks I spent about 2 days actually on a jury and one of the trials really shouldn't have gone to court - someone was trying to get off a serious driving offence on a technicality when there was good evidence he was guilty.

We didn't even agree a verdict because most people could see this but there were a few who dismissed it as 'lads messing around'.

Magissa Mon 28-Sep-20 08:36:54

Maybe it depends on the court and judge too. I was at a main London court. Initially fifty jurors were picked. It took a day to whittle us down. The judge was not interested in excuses. At one point he told prospective jurors..." If you were run over by a bus tomorrow you would have to be off work and I'm quite sure they would have to manage without you. This is your public duty". The jury is picked in front of the whole court including defendants. (Not the public though)
I would say based on what I saw when I was there, probably a third or more of the cases were expected to go on longer than two weeks.
As another poster said, you do get a lot of breaks. We would go in at 10. Stop for a break around 11. An hour for lunch. Tea break in the afternoon. Finish between 3.30 and 4 occasionally a bit later. You need those breaks though just to move! Also occasional days off during the trial. Our judge was very fair. A couple of us knew we had hospital appointments. The trial was held up for our appointments as the judge said he knew how long you have to wait to see a doctor. Mine was a morning appointment. Trial started in the afternoon that day. Some days we spent more time out than in. If barristers need to discus points for example. You become very close to fellow jurors and court becomes your life. You are told constantly not to talk about it with anyone other than fellow jurors so when the weekend came and you have your head full of the case it's hard to be your normal self doing mundane things. I found it hard to switch off. I would do it again in a heartbeat though. It was a fascinating experience and I was lucky enough to be on a jury with others also taking it just as seriously as me. I can confidently say we gave it our all. I did however see other jurors on other cases that were clearly very negative about the process. Imagine being the defendant in a case where there are jurors like that.

By the way
Take something to do because until you are picked for a case you are just sitting around. You can only leave when told. Lots of people had laptops and were keeping up with work.

SoupDragon Mon 28-Sep-20 08:44:30

How does jury service work with social distancing etc?

BackforGood Mon 28-Sep-20 12:44:38

You'll spend a lot of time sitting around wondering how it could be possible for the process to be as inefficient as it is.

This ^
If the country were ever looking to save some millions from the public purse, this would be a great place to start.

@SoupDragon I have no idea. I was wondering that myself. I can see that in some (a small minority of) rooms there might be the possibility, but in the waiting rooms I can't see it (well, t least where I did mine).

Turnedouttoes Mon 28-Sep-20 12:51:19

I did mine in a South London court and like other posters was shocked at what an inefficient waste of time it was.

There was soooo much sitting around. Most days court would start at 10 then break for an hour for lunch and then we’d be done by 3. There were always issues or witnesses that couldn’t be found.

The first case I was put on, 1 of the jurors had a family emergency after the second day so we had to get a new juror and start the whole thing again. Then the court shut because of snow and then when we went back several days later we were again sent home because the judge was sick. I’m not sure what happened to the case in the end but we never finished it.

I was then put on another case for the last 2 days which again never ran over 3/3.30pm
I was so looking forward to it as well but it was so utterly boring in the end

lazylump72 Mon 28-Sep-20 16:17:46

Thanks for the replies ladies ...10 til 4.30 is my requirement.Social distancing is great ..waiting rooms 2 meters appart the chairs.and screens at both sides of you and in front like booths on the benches! Take food ..take snacks..be prepared to do nothing for hours with an hours lunch take a good book,laptop or phone!!! day one out of the way and i feel much hapier and settled! Best wishes to you all ..thanks again

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TartanDMs Mon 28-Sep-20 19:16:39

Thanks lazylump I got my letter today about how the social distancing will work, seems very organised. Quite excited to start next week!

TwoLeftSocksWithHoles Mon 28-Sep-20 19:43:47

I'd love to do jury service.
As long as it wasn't a unpleasant case.
Maybe a clumsy fraud or drug farm or a bungling bank raid.
Do you get sandwiches and stuff?

BarbaraofSeville Mon 28-Sep-20 19:49:11

TwoLeftSocksWithHoles

I'd love to do jury service.
As long as it wasn't a unpleasant case.
Maybe a clumsy fraud or drug farm or a bungling bank raid.
Do you get sandwiches and stuff?

Those are the types of cases that are likely to take months and the people involved in them are usually far from pleasant.

When I did it you could eat in the canteen and it was dreadful and overpriced, some nasty corporate caterer like Eurest.

And the court was too far away to make going out to get something nice practical, especially due to the security queue to get back in.

It's like the court service go out of their way to make the experience as unpleasant and frustrating as possible.

ZoominMoomin Mon 28-Sep-20 20:19:24

I did it 2 years ago and it was a shit show. Sat in a waiting room for week 1, then got called into something on the second week to have the case fall apart due to a fuck up with some evidence on the first sitting so they let us all go. Take some books, some crosswords, snacks and a drink. Avoid eating in the canteen if you can and try and go off site to eat. I was given a baked potato I could have stoved someone's head in with it was that undercooked. Prepare to be bored

TartanDMs Mon 28-Sep-20 20:30:24

No food at court at present, the canteen is closed. But the court i will be at is in the city centre so hopefully won't be a problem if I don't always take a packed lunch.

viccat Mon 28-Sep-20 21:22:53

I did mine the year before last and the only long day was actually the last day because it took us ages to reach a verdict!

BackforGood Mon 28-Sep-20 23:13:53

Do you get sandwiches and stuff?

I don't know if it varies from one court to another, but you could claim a 'daily allowance' when I did it last year - from memory I think it was about a fiver a day - but you just claim for the number of days you are there, you can take a packed lunch and a flask and pocket it or you can buy coffees and buy lunch in the City Centre and it end up costing you. Up to you. I think the little cafe where I was was quite nice (by reputation), but the case I was on was in a different building down the road, and the rigmarole of going out of our building, then through security into the other one to queue and wait for your food etc made it not as sensible as going to one of the dozens of other outlets nearby.

Fatted Mon 28-Sep-20 23:21:30

You'll be out of there by four every day. I worked with the courts. There was no one left in the building apart from security after 4.30pm.

@BarbaraofSeville
@BackforGood
I had to quit my job because I genuinely couldn't cope with the amount of balls ups, incompetence and inefficiency. It's soul destroying.

EasilyDeleted Mon 28-Sep-20 23:24:37

I've done it twice and both times found it to be efficient with very little waiting around. Sounds as though I've been lucky. I did a murder trial first time, 2.5 weeks, then an assault the second time, 4 days and then I was discharged. The murder trial was one of the most interesting experiences of my life, it did absorb me completely and it took over a year afterwards to stop thinking about it on a daily basis.

TheSandman Mon 28-Sep-20 23:34:13

Do you get sandwiches and stuff?

We got escorted to an adjacent hotel for lunch, kept separate from the other guests - the hotel was well used to the procedure - told not to talk about the case outwith the courthouse, and given a basic but adequate meal.

lazylump72 Tue 29-Sep-20 13:57:44

no sandwiches..started at 10 am today and 12.45 we all went home!You need to take your own lunch or get some in your lunch hour.

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