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AIBU to think self employed people should be exempt from Jury Service?

(190 Posts)

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Petal02 Tue 07-Jul-15 14:33:04

Yes, I know everyone should do their civic duty but ….

DH is self-employed, and the winter months are his busiest season. He was originally asked to do Jury Service in November, but requested a deferral on the grounds that two weeks out during his peak season would be a disaster for a sole trader. The ‘compensation for lost earnings’ is just over £60 per day (or £32 if you’re only needed for a half day) for a two week jury service period, which is way, way short of DH’s usual earnings. And whichever time of year he was called, we knew he was going to take a fairly significant hit, financially.

Thankfully a deferral was granted, and he was given a revised start date of Monday 6 July.

So ……. DH obviously didn’t accept any work for the period w/c 6 July or w/c 13 July (even though he planned to try and fit a few small jobs in). On the afternoon of Friday 3 July he got a phone call saying he wouldn’t be needed on Monday 6th, and that he was to phone up after 5pm on Monday 6th, to see if he would be needed for Tuesday 7th. The Court Officer went on to say that it was likely he may not have to attend at all, but he had to stay on standby for the two week period, phoning up after 5pm each day, to enquire about the following day. Which is just a joke for a self-employed person.

As it turned out, when he phoned on Monday night, he was then stood down for his entire period of jury service. But in the meantime he’d turned down a lot of work, and even though he’s now able to accept jobs again for the coming fortnight, we’ve made quite a loss and I’m really not happy.

I don’t think the self-employed should have to do this. DH had to work really hard to pull a small business through the recession, and jury service has been unhelpful.

poocatcherchampion Tue 07-Jul-15 14:34:53

Jury service is inconvenient to a lot of people for a lot of reasons.

Parents need to pay for childcare, essential work gets put off, carers need to make arrangemwnts.

Everyone just needs to do their bit.

GobblersKnob Tue 07-Jul-15 14:36:27

I see your point but I don't know where you would stop? I have friends who have had to take unpaid leave to do jury service sGo for a girly night on the town? Friday. First time for ages!! Loved it.
Buy a pair of shoes? January sales sad
Eat chocolate? Over a week ago now (well done me)
Use a payphone? Friday night lol
Have sex? Last night
Hoover your house? Today
Squirt bleach down your loo? Today
Have a takeaway? Tonight nd another with children who had to organize childcare

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 07-Jul-15 14:37:09

I'm the only person at my place of work that can do what I do. By a long way. Homeless people, people with a lot of challenges, rely on me. It's not just self-employed people who find it very difficult to take time away. But it's the price of living on a democracy, which we take for granted much too much.

I don't think the system would work if only people with nothing better to do served on juries.

lushilaoshi Tue 07-Jul-15 14:40:06

I am uncomfortable with the jury system full stop.

But I don't think it would be practical or fair to make an exception for self-employed people.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Tue 07-Jul-15 14:40:37

I completely hear you OP, I too am self-employed and found my last period of jury service massively stressful (I didn't get called either, but DH was away so not only was I turning down work I was trying to source childcare).

I don't think the solution is allowing SE people to get out of jury service though, I think the solution is upping the payment so SE people get a fee more comparable to their average daily earnings. I suspect that won't be a popular view though! smile

GobblersKnob Tue 07-Jul-15 14:40:38

Well that's in interesting post, sorry op grin

Meant to say -

I see your point but I don't know where you would stop? I have friends who have had to take unpaid leave to do jury service, and another with children who had to organize childcare, so it doesn't just affect the self-employed.

GoringBit Tue 07-Jul-15 14:40:50

I tend to agree with you, OP. Yes, everyone should do their part, so far as is reasonable, but not to end up significantly out of pocket. The pool of potential jurors is way bigger than the number needed, so any exemption for certain self-employed people seems reasonable to me.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Tue 07-Jul-15 14:41:58

Your friends should not have had to take unpaid leave though Gobblers. That's illegal - they are entitled to paid time off.

lougle Tue 07-Jul-15 14:42:22

That's fine, as long as you agree that SE people shouldn't have a fairly selected jury from the public.

CuttingOutTheCrap Tue 07-Jul-15 14:42:33

Yabu, I'm afraid. There are many groups of people for whom jury service is a pita - very low income, single parents, carers, those with disability or illness etc etc. The fact that your dh got a deferral is great, He had time to plan ahead and make plans for it, not everyone has that opportunity.
The point of a jury is that it represents society so it's just not feasible to have a massive blanket exclusion for things like being self employed. Pita, probably, but something that's worthwhile to live in a society with a decent legal system surely?

Teabagbeforemilk Tue 07-Jul-15 14:43:25

Yabu, it's a pita for everyone. He deffered it from the first date, be high was better for him. He knew these dates well in advance. If he had have been called in, it could have ended up taking more than 2 weeks. So surely this is the preferred option.

FadedRed Tue 07-Jul-15 14:43:34

It's 2 weeks, usually only once in adult life, so it's a PITA if you don't think it's your duty, but that's life. (And I know that people can get called up to 3 times, I've been called twice)

Petal02 Tue 07-Jul-15 14:45:30

I work for a local authority, they would keep me on full pay if I were doing jury service, and I'd love to do it - so it's ironic that DH got called.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 07-Jul-15 14:46:20

YANBU, what the none self employed don't realise is during your busy periods you make more money than usual to take account of lean times.
If my dh was called during summer or december I think we'd be bankrupt as that is when he makes the money. Any other time of year when business is just ticking over then fine.

Lurkedforever1 Tue 07-Jul-15 14:48:02

You have a point but there's a lot of other eligible jurors who are also equally inconvenienced by jury duty, whether its income, time, otheir commitments, health etc. And unless we want a very small jury pool, which would end up being mainly only a small sector of society, then the rules shouldn't be changed. As it is people can be excused or deferred on a case by case basis which is how I think it should be.

PercyGherkin Tue 07-Jul-15 14:49:32

morethanpotatoprints - OP says that he requested a deferral, which he got, to do it in the summer months - ie out of his busiest period.

Goshthatsspicy Tue 07-Jul-15 14:50:03

I did it when l was self employed.
Made quite a bit of money.
I think l claimed the maximum, l would have made (had l worked) 1992 l think?

lougle Tue 07-Jul-15 14:51:11

Of course we understand that, morethanpotatoprints. But the OP's DH was able to defer on that basis. That doesn't mean he should get to opt out all together.

Teabagbeforemilk Tue 07-Jul-15 14:51:40

morethan I am self employed. Still don't agree. The ops dh deffered it from his busiest time into his leaner times. Allowances already made for him.

BrockAuLit Tue 07-Jul-15 14:52:49


Your loss of earnings, in circumstances which don't sound as though this is catastrophic, is small beer for the price of justice at the hands of your peers. What would you rather?

And what makes you think the self-employed have it any harder than any other group of people?

This kind of entitlement really makes my
blood boil. Look around you at those less fortunate than you; it will save you a lot of wasted negative energy, and make you a more pleasant person for others to deal with.

girlandboy Tue 07-Jul-15 14:53:23

I'm not sure where I stand here?
On one hand, everyone should do their duty. But on the other hand, my DH and I run our own business and we are the only "staff". Two weeks off and it could actually close us down. We've not been going long enough to be able to not operate for that long without losing our customers. It's not just the money side of things or the inconvenience, but it could literally finish us in the fickle side of running a business.

ThreeBeanRap Tue 07-Jul-15 14:54:49

lonny and OP, if you are an employee of someone else, they do not have to pay you. They have to let you have the time off but they are under no obligation to pay you.

I was lucky when I did mine in that my company agreed to pay me as normal, but many don't, and people in that situation have to claim the maximum amount, in the same way that OPs DH did.

It is not just the self employed who are financially penalised by jury service and therefore they shouldn't have extra exemptions.

Volenflo Tue 07-Jul-15 14:56:14

I know we all have to do it, bla bla bla.

But yes OP I agree with you. It's really quite unpleasant for self employed people.

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 07-Jul-15 14:57:17

It is hard. I don't think employers have to pay full pay when someone is on jury service - mostly I think people pay up to 5 days and then the rest is discretionary.

So it can be hard for anyone financially speaking.

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