Jury service! Crown Court. Experiences, please!

(35 Posts)
Miljea Mon 03-May-21 01:02:58

I'm looking for 'how it works', likelihood of being called, length of trials ; how each day in court works.

Anyone's experience will be welcomed!

OP’s posts: |
Watchingstars88 Mon 03-May-21 02:17:59

My friend was called, it was meant to be for a week but she spent the first day just sat in a waiting room. Also on one of the days she wasn't required at all. She said it was really unpredictable! Sorry not much help ! The only thing I can advise from what she told me is to take a book as you can be sat waiting around a while.

memberofthewedding Mon 03-May-21 03:12:11

This also happened to a good friend of mine. He spent a lot of time sitting about and on one case he was dismissed because the defence objected to him (reason was not stated). He never got to hear an actual case.

Apparently many people now simply do not turn up.

Miljea Mon 03-May-21 18:45:27

That's interesting, people not turning up! Isn't that an offence in itself?

I have warned DS that it might be a very tedious week, plus!

OP’s posts: |
Pippapotomus Mon 03-May-21 19:53:03

I did several years ago, and dh has his turn next month.

The first day everyone in our group went in. We had our own waiting room, loos and cafeteria counter. Some were picked for a trial starting that day, the rest went home. If not sworn in on a trial there was a number to call each afternoon that was a voice message listing what juror numbers were needed to come in the next day. If you weren’t needed you phone again the next day.

After 2 days at home I was chosen to come in. But then rejected from the jury. Me and a few other rejects went home by lunch.

Another day at home.

Finally picked for a trial. That then became apparent it would drag on for longer than expected. All of our original group had then finished their trials and left and we were put with newbies. One of the originals had a holiday booked, and another was moving house the next week so the whole case was abandoned and rescheduled.

You get spending money for food and drink, parking, childcare and wages are covered. Take a book, wear comfy clothes and prepare to be bored.

WhatsALieIn Mon 03-May-21 20:03:09

Day one. 3 full teams of jurors (think it’s 12 on each?)
Team A immediately got a case which lasted 2 full weeks. A really juicy case.

Team B did nothing for the first day then the next day they got a case that lasted 3 days then a case that lasted 4 days.

Team C (my team) was originally to have team B’s first case until one of our jurors declared he knew the man. (I was gutted!) so our team sat around on days 1-10 then got a case on day 11 that lasted 1 day then we could leave for good.

On the days where we did nothing we were told we could leave at 1pm each day.
Our food and travel was paid for each day. Even the days cut short.

toomuchfaster Mon 03-May-21 20:04:03

DFIL got called last summer, he went in every day for a week and was sent home after a couple of hours wait each day. The second week he was told he had fulfilled his duty and not to bother coming in again.

mimbleandlittlemy Mon 03-May-21 20:13:20

I have served twice. First time was at the Old Bailey - lots of sitting around, read four books, finally called on to a jury, case lasted 3 days and we were then dismissed. Second time two days sitting around. 20 jurors called and told it would be a very long case so we had to go and get written explanations from employer if we felt we couldn’t do a long case, handed in to judge next morning and I was released from long jury pool. Back to jury room. Finally called to a case that lasted 3 days. Called to another jury, did 3 days, case collapsed and we were dismissed.

There is a lot of sitting around. A good book is essential.

Gindrinker43 Mon 03-May-21 20:54:00

I got called a few years ago. Funnily enough just after I had registered for postal voting.
About 20 of us called, a couple left on the first day when the names of those involved in the trial were read out as were known to jurors.
Then our numbers were picked out of a hat.
2 weeks 2 trials, lots of sitting around with no tech. Take a book and a flask. Really interesting to be part of though.
I had a colleague who ended up on a trial that took 6 months and had a huge impact on their training and career

Hellocatshome Mon 03-May-21 20:59:26

My DF had to be smuggled out the court incognito after he was a juror on a Crown Court case. The police were concerned the convicted man's family who were in the public gallery would follow the jurors home and take their revenge. He said apart from that bit the trial was incredibly boring.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Mon 03-May-21 21:16:29

I’ve done it. Take a good book! Or two. There is often a lot of sitting around.
I sat on two trials, but they were for less than a week each.
I found it very interesting, and reassuring to see how it all worked.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Mon 03-May-21 21:21:30

Oh, and please impress on your DS that googling the defendant, to find out any previous dodgy stuff, is strictly forbidden - there are really hefty penalties, inc. prison. You are supposed to hear all the evidence with an open mind.
They will make that clear, but just as well to ram it home - it’s all too tempting to stick a name into google. Someone locally got 8 months for ignoring the rule - an academic, too, you’d think they might have more sense.

minou123 Mon 03-May-21 21:39:01

My overall experience was that there is a lot of waiting around, so take a book.

I echo everyone else's experience.
I was called for a case that could potentially take 3 months. I had to check with work that it was fine.
When we were called into the court, the judge told us it was a fraud case and there would be a lot of paperwork. One of the jurors told the judge he was dyslexic and asked to be excused, and he was.
We had to listen to all the victims names to make sure we didn't know anyone.

As it turned out, the 3 defendants, started to change thier plea to guilty, so we didn't get to make a decision.

Top tip from the judhe:
- the judge told us categorically not to google/research any details of the case. He told us a story of a murder trial, where the jury couldn't decide if the defendant was guilty or not. So they got a oujda board to "ask the dead victim" for advice! The trial collapsed.

Pippapotomus Tue 04-May-21 20:27:41

I think every judge likes to tell a story of the stupidest juror they’ve met.

The one I was told of was a juror finding the defendant on Facebook and sending messages to his mum asking questions. The mum was adamant he hadn’t done it so the juror tried convincing the rest of the group that his mum couldn’t be wrong.

AnneElliott Tue 04-May-21 21:21:02

I've done it twice. Definitely take a good book or two as it's boring waiting around.

I really enjoyed it but didn't enjoy discussing the case with some of my fellow jurors who were in fact a bit dim. For example the judge said "you don't have to find the stolen goods on the defendants property to find him guilty of burglary". First thing the juror said "well they didn't actually find the stolen goods on his property".

annonymousse Tue 04-May-21 21:29:34

I did jury service about 15 years ago. I was expecting lots of waiting around and was looking forward to reading a book I had bought specially. I was called within 10 mins and found myself in court in the jury box in no time. Our case lasted 3 weeks. It felt surreal to be making the decision about the evidence etc especially when we found the defendant guilty and he was subsequently sentenced to 8 years. He absolutely deserved it but his wife was in court and she cried. It felt horrible

minou123 Tue 04-May-21 21:38:24


I think every judge likes to tell a story of the stupidest juror they’ve met.

The one I was told of was a juror finding the defendant on Facebook and sending messages to his mum asking questions. The mum was adamant he hadn’t done it so the juror tried convincing the rest of the group that his mum couldn’t be wrong.

And I thought the story with the ouija board was crazy .

Tormundsbeard Tue 04-May-21 21:41:13

I have done it twice. First time was a two day trial - attempted and actual theft. After being in the large waiting room for over a week, I was pleased to see inside a court room. The defendant was a pickpocket who had been in and out of prison his whole life. Debating the facts of the case with fellow jurors and seeing how the system / process worked was v interesting.

Second case was an awful child murder trial that lasted 4 weeks and had me sobbing in the jury box at some of the evidence. We were all excused jury duty for 10 years after that case.

I had been excited when I was first called for jury duty, but after that second time, I dread being called again.

JennyWreny Tue 04-May-21 21:43:59

I was called about three years ago. There was a potential long case (three weeks) which I was selected for. There was a bit of waiting around the first couple of days but once the case started it wasn’t too bad.

It was a murder case and although I found Jury Service interesting as a process it was obviously a sad case and did affect me at the time. The case was an episode of “24 hours in Police custody” and it was interesting to see more information that hadn’t been presented in court.

Cherry321 Tue 04-May-21 21:49:48

I would wear ‘bland’ clothes as when I did it I twice found myself on my own in close proximity to the defendant (walking along a road and on a bus).

We were told that we had to catch public transport and they wouldn’t pay for parking unless there were exceptional circumstances.

I planned to work whilst I was waiting but there wasn’t any WiFi. Not sure if that was deliberate or not.

Youaremypenguin Tue 04-May-21 21:52:35

I've done it recently. Take things to do. Lots of sitting about. Things don't get going till 9.30 at the earliest and finish before 4. Your in and out of the court room. There are many delays and it can get frustratingly dull if your not picked.

makingmiracles Tue 04-May-21 22:00:54

Dp did it recently at crown. First day lots of waiting around, 12 picked, he wasn’t one of them, 12 did a case for the week, he went back to work for the rest of the week. Second week they called on the tues afternoon and asked him to be there wed morning, he did a 3 day case, finished around 4.30 each day.

A lot of waiting around so take something to read or tablet+headphones, take whatever you going to need in with you as its not easy to go outside as you have to do the whole security thing each time- they made dp open his drink and drink some as part of the security, I’m guessing to prove he wasn’t carrying something like acid!

DachshundDerby Tue 04-May-21 22:28:55

Lots of waiting to see if you will be called on a jury. If you are then still lots of waiting for the hearing to start / resume.

I had two cases in the two week time frame each lasting four days. The days were quite long and tiring. Lots of sitting, waiting, listening. We had to be there by 9am but rarely went into court before 10:30am.

Deliberation was absolutely painful. Being stuck in a room with fellow jurors watching and rewatching CCTV. Tests the patience of a saint. Couldn’t arrive at a unanimous verdict on either occasion.

I had always wanted to do jury service but can safely say it was one of the most tiring and challenging two weeks. I came away feeling very disillusioned by the whole system.

Did meet some nice people on the jury and we grew quite close through the shared experience but there were some who I wouldn’t want looking after my goldfish let alone being on a jury.

The responsibility felt enormous.

Snog Tue 04-May-21 22:29:20

When I had jury service they picked jurors 3 times over the 2 week period but I was never picked, just sent home.

Tanfastic Tue 04-May-21 22:32:31

I was called several years ago. Was really lucky to get picked on day 1 and the trial lasted the full two weeks. A murder. Was a great, although very emotionally charged experience and I'd love to have the opportunity to do it again.

I do know several people who haven't been so lucky though and had a lot of sitting around twiddling their thumbs.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in