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to ask to be excused from jury service for a third time? (sorry a bit long)

(6 Posts)
wallflowerchild Fri 07-Dec-12 14:27:37

I've just got my third summon for jury service, and I can't see a way that I can do it. I'm a single parent of two, and don't have any childcare because I'm unemployed (but desperately jobhunting). According to the local family information website there aren't any childminders with vacancies who do pickups and drop offs at my dcs school. My ex partner lives an hour and a half away so wouldn't be able to help. I'm not friends with any school mums so theres' no way I could ask any of them (and even if I was friends with them, it would probably still be a bit too much to ask). My friends and family who live locally all have their own work/family commitments so wouldn't be able to help.
The first time I was summoned was years ago when I was at uni 200 miles away from my home town (which is where I would have done the jury service), so was excused for being too far away.
The second time was about six months ago and I was excused because of there being no childminders available.
Would I be unreasonable to be asked to be excused again for the same reason? Is it just coincidence that I've been called again so soon, or could it be that someone's decided my last reason wasn't good enough?
Also, I've got an appointment with my GP next week, and am hoping to be referred for cognitive behavioural therapy for social anxiety disorder, should I mention this on the form, even though I haven't yet been diagnosed? Would I have to ask my GP for a letter? I wouldn't really want to ask for a letter, it's going to be hard enough to ask about therapy in the first place, and I would be worried it would look like I'm just making it up to try to get out of jury service.
I wouldn't actually mind doing jury service. It's just trying to find childcare that's so difficult.

CajaDeLaMemoria Fri 07-Dec-12 14:33:06

I'm not sure that you'll get away with asking for the third time. It's worth considering what you'll do if they reject you.

University is a valid excuse, as far as I'm aware, and everyone gets to defer once - but not many people get to defer twice, especially for the same reason. I can't remember there being a clause for childcare, but I didn't actively look at the time - I'm sure someone will correct me if one has been added recently.

Wait until you are diagnosed to put anything on the form. It's unlikely that you'll be diagnosed during your first few sessions, from my personal experience, but when you see your therapist for the first time you can mention the jury service and they will be able to write you a letter if they think it would be detrimental. If you declare it now they will contact your GP for evidence, which can be difficult!

I'd phone the number on the form and explain that you have no childcare. See what they suggest. It may be that you are expected to find somewhere for a few days, or it may be that there is allowances made for single parents. They should be able to tell you, so that you know exactly where you stand.

Don't worry about medical conditions etc until you've found out if you will be expected to go. They tend to be good with anxiety and depression - they offered me plenty of breaks, an empty room to go too if I needed too and someone to talk to at the court to calm me down. I really didn't want to go, as I struggled with going outside at the time and couldn't speak to strangers, but they were very accommodating.

orchidee Fri 07-Dec-12 14:38:50

Yes, ask. The previous reasons for you being refused are still valid.
Speak to your gp as they may feel it's not appropriate for you to attend jury duty. I know it's never nice, but some trials are gruesome and you may not be emotionally able to deal with that.

Also, re: sourcing childcare. I don't understand how this can possibly work as you won't know when your be released from jury duty until the day before, I.e. it could be one day or a week or however long. What childminder can cope with that?

There's plenty of time in your future to do jury duty smile

Osmiornica Fri 07-Dec-12 14:46:59

I can't see any reason they shouldn't excuse you as your circumstances haven't changed. It's not like you can magic up some suitable childminders.

EmmelineGoulden Fri 07-Dec-12 14:55:18

They've called you back so quickly because last time you deferred service. Standard procedure is to call back 6 months after a deferal. You aren't supposed to be able to defer a second time. But I've never heard of anyone jailed for this and there must be lots of people in your situation.

You can contact the Jury Central Summoning Bureau with any questions:
0845 803 8003
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

jurysummoning@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk

I think it's absurd that people caring for children are expected to find alternative arrangements in order to serve on juries. But they are. The court should be able to give you a list of childminders etc. for your area, but I don't know how screened they are for carers prepared to take on these sorts of arrangements, or if it's just a big list from the local authority.

wallflowerchild Fri 07-Dec-12 15:01:59

Thanks for your replies. I'll try asking to be excused again, but I don't know what I'll do if they refuse.
EmmelineGoulden, I'm pretty sure I was excused rather than deferred last time. I ticked the box for excusal on the form, and got a letter back saying I'd been excused. But maybe they sent the wrong letter that time.

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