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To think that if people are forced to do Jury service...

(95 Posts)
Pseudonym99 Mon 29-Jul-13 19:21:42

...against their will, then you cannot expect them to take it seriously, abide by the rules and they shouldn't be held responsible when they break those rules? And how can it be in the interests of justice to have jurors there who do not take it seriously or do not want to be there?

MidniteScribbler Tue 30-Jul-13 03:10:49

I got called up recently, but unfortunately can't do it this time around. People like to complain about having to do their civic duty, but are quite happy to put their hand out and take, or to use services and facilities provided for public use. I would like to see civics classes in schools as a part of the curriculum.

CormoranStrike Tue 30-Jul-13 03:38:43

I live in Scotland, I was exempted as I was a Reporter on a local newspaper, so regularly covered the court and explained that I would not be impartial if I recognised the accused and their previous form.

However, I would not be exemt from High Court cases, less chance if being local you see.

CormoranStrike Tue 30-Jul-13 03:38:58


Mumoftwoyoungkids Tue 30-Jul-13 05:52:28


That's interesting that doctors are exempt in Scotland. They aren't in England. My best friend is a doctor and has done it. She had to excuse herself from the first case she was given as she worked in A&E at the time and had treated the accused in a way that would prejudice her. (The example she gave when telling me about it- although this isn' true - is that she had treated him for cuts from glass and the case was about a burglary through smashing a window.)

Exempting doctors would reduce the pool quite a bit I would have thought......

Ixia Tue 30-Jul-13 07:43:59

I was all for trial by jury, until I had to sit on a jury. Two of the jurors were rabidly anti-men and wanted to convict the defendent of a greater charge because he had admitted raising his voice to a woman. Another guy made comments about the child in the case, she was 15 but 'a right tart' in his words.
The thought of being tried by people like that chills me to the bone.

The other terrifying thing was that people involved with the case shouted and heckled us when we left the building, they saw the cars we drove and I guess could probably find out where we lived.

It wasn't interesting or exciting, just downright bloody grim.

LondonMan Tue 30-Jul-13 09:06:36

It's never happened, but the possibility of having to do jury service first occurred to me at a time when I had a large mortgage. The prospect of several weeks of losing hundreds of pounds per day of self-employed earnings and my mortgage going unpaid didn't seem particularly reasonable to me. In fact I was in negative equity and I assumed not paying the mortgage would have meant repossession and bankruptcy.

corinthian Tue 30-Jul-13 09:45:47

It is very hard to get exemption from jury service these days though you can postpone for up to a year. I was called to do it when 7 months pregnant and that certainly wasn't ground for exemption and chose not to postpone as the jury service's attitude to childcare is that you can pay somebody to look after a baby for two weeks who has never met the baby before (besides the fact that finding good quality childcare with that sort of availability is obviously tough, or that you might still be breastfeeding). I certainly met one mother whose husband had used half of his annual leave for the year to look after their children while she was on jury service.

It was made very clear to us on repeated occasions that we shouldn't discuss anything on social media or research the case on the internet and to do so would be contempt of court. It was made less clear what we could discuss after the case had finished - obviously everything in the jury room is confidential but whether it was ok to say what sort of case you had been on etc.

Having been on a jury, my feeling was that it's not an ideal system, but, like democracy, I doubt there's a better one, and the vast majority of people took their role very seriously.

BMW6 Tue 30-Jul-13 09:59:22

Having been on a jury, my feeling was that it's not an ideal system, but, like democracy, I doubt there's a better one, and the vast majority of people took their role very seriously.

Ditto from me. Did Jury service aged 19 and we all took it very seriously - if one of us had been mucking about we would have collectively challenged them to behave responsibly.

flatpackhamster Tue 30-Jul-13 10:04:31


And there was a movement to introduce professional jurors at the time I studied law. I happen to agree with it.

So basically the lawyers want lawyers to replace jurors. Which to me speaks volumes about the problem with the law profession.

TwelveLeggedWalk Tue 30-Jul-13 10:11:53

I have no problem with doing it, would quite like to actually, but I simply can't afford to lose money on it as self employed.
I was excused the last time it came up, which would have cost me thousands. I am dreading it coming up again now I've got childcare to factor in as well.
Tbh if I wasn't excused I'd probably have to notify them that I would be a no-show and pay the fine.

Shrugged Tue 30-Jul-13 10:29:43

The OP is one of the stupidest things I have ever seen on this forum. And yes, the rest of us do get that it's a deeply inconvenient duty for probably the vast majority of us, dealing with work and childcare and involving significant financial sacrifices on both grounds. The stupidity of your sentiments still stands.

OneStepCloser Tue 30-Jul-13 10:39:24

I done Jury Service about seven years ago and have just been called again, I have deferred this time but would like to get out of it as I hate the thought of having such a say in someones life, to the extent Im worrying already, I find it a real responsibility and worry if Ive made the right decision sad.

But, I strongly agree its the best system to have, having such a mix of people would equal fairest outcome.

bakingaddict Tue 30-Jul-13 10:45:19

I thought that a judge has legal juristriction to strike out and disregard a jury decision if the jury has so blatantly failed to grasp any legal points made or if there has been any evidence of jury tampering.

My point is that a jury decision mightn't be such a finality and that people aren't being sent to jail simply because the jury took exception to the colour of their hair or other nebulous reasons. I'm not a legal person so I am open to be corrected

IsotopeMe Tue 30-Jul-13 10:52:59

Just out of interest, if his fb was private, how do they know what he wrote? Do you have to hand over your login details? And how can they track what he searched on google?

rainforestlife Tue 30-Jul-13 12:10:48

HeartsTrumpDiamonds there has been a change which means that 'mentally disordered persons' (!) aren't automatically ineligible - there was a Mind campaign about it.

I was exempt from Jury Service a few years ago as I also have MH issues. It was a relief, to be honest, as I'm not sure I would have coped with the demands, especially if it was a distressing trial, and I had trouble just coping with day to day life. Now I'm a bit concerned that I might be called up, although Mind says that you can still get a letter from your psych if you don't feel able to do it, but it's not automatic as it was before, so I worry that they might not accept it.

SilverOldie Tue 30-Jul-13 12:23:25


They deserved what they got.

I've only done jury service once, didn't enjoy it but still did it. Wasn't helped by the jury foreman morphing into Hitler once appointed, trying to bully jurors who didn't go with the result he wanted.

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Tue 30-Jul-13 15:24:43

Rainforest thank you! I'll have a look at that link. I didn't know it had changed. I hope you will be in a good place if and when you are called, but I also noticed that they say a letter from your GP would be acceptable too.

LOL at mentally disordered persons. I am not telling DH that one, he will use it against me grin

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Tue 30-Jul-13 15:30:14

Oh 'mentally disordered persons' I wonder if that is me, I got a letter this morning and really really do not want to go this will be my 2nd time.

IrisWildthyme Tue 30-Jul-13 15:34:38

YABU. Our system may not be perfect, but it's far preferable for the decision of guilt or innocence to rest with ordinary people than for employees of the state to get to decide. I would love to play my part in contributing to a democratic society by doing this service to my community (even though I'm sure it would be very boring).

Sending people to prison for NOT taking it seriously seems like a very sensible way to ensure people DO take it seriously.

cumfy Tue 30-Jul-13 15:48:55


But there's a corollary to all this isn't there ?

If juries are in practice composed of people like the OP and those just convicted, to what extent can and do juries really deliver just verdicts ?

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