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Jury duty when you're on low income/benefits

(73 Posts)
QuimJongUn Wed 17-May-17 12:13:28

DH is currently on jury duty. He has to pay for train tickets to the court every day and buy his own drinks/lunch etc. Which is fine - he'll get fully reimbursed when his service ends.

I was thinking, though, what do you do if you're on a very low income, or benefits? His transport/basic food is costing him around £10 a day. If you're on benefits, over a fortnight that's almost all your money gone. What do you do for grocery shopping/bills etc? It's all very well to say it'll be reimbursed but if you've noone to borrow it from and no savings, you're fucked. And if you refuse to do it, you could get a £1,000 fine.

It seems very unfair to me. Saying you can't afford it isn't a legitimate excuse to be excused, either. Surely it needs looking at?

LurkingHusband Wed 17-May-17 12:15:53

I have often said that if we wanted a decent justice system in the UK, we'd pay for it.

BorpBorpBorp Wed 17-May-17 12:17:51

I don't know the answer, but am interested. I just looked at the government website about jury service, and it says you have to return the form within 7 days of receiving it. What if the form arrives when you're on holiday?

myusernamewastaken Wed 17-May-17 12:18:27

Ive wondered this before a single parent..and i live in fear of being called up to do jury kids are all teens but it would still put a strain on us and my work is short staffed and not sure i could get the time off.

Salycinnamon11 Wed 17-May-17 12:19:15

When I did jury service we were told on the first day if you couldn't afford the travel/food upfront to go and speak to the jury manager and they would be happy to sort it

DJBaggySmalls Wed 17-May-17 12:19:37

Childcare is an issue as well.

Salycinnamon11 Wed 17-May-17 12:20:37

Myusernamewastaken- if your employer can prove that your absence would negatively impact the business they can refuse

hibbledobble Wed 17-May-17 12:43:54

Those on benefits often get subsidised transport, and you could bring in a packed lunch and bottle of water. I don't see the issue Tbh.

Babyroobs Wed 17-May-17 12:46:51

I think you can get out of jury service on the basis of childcare. I got called up to do it when I had 4 kids under 10 and because we didn't pay childcare because we work around each other, it would have been a nightmare to pay for and organise. I just rang and they said I could do it another time. This was about ten years ago and I've never been called back !

DancingOnTheTable Wed 17-May-17 12:52:32

When I did it last year there was a woman who was a single parent claiming out of work benefits, she had to give them her bus tickets and receipts at the end of each day and she was given a refund of her expenses straight away in cash as she couldn't afford to wait until the end of the service.
I got the impression it wasn't an uncommon situation.

JustKeepDancing Wed 17-May-17 13:02:13

When I did jury service there was an option of claiming for the previous day when we turned up so we'd be out of pocket for a day at most. I also took a packed lunch, and we were provided with tea, coffee and water, so that wasn't an issue - buying lunch was optional and again reimbursed from receipt.

I was lucky that my employer paid for my attendance but a friend ended up hundreds of pounds out of pocket because they didn't get salaries paid and they had to claim the £60 alliance instead. On the plus side where they did it (different city to a me) had a canteen so they got a voucher.

I didn't feel like the jury I was on was my peers. Most were older, and retired, or students, as so many women in their 30s are exempt because of small children etc, and actually a lot of my friends would also be exempt because of their jobs - police, teachers, NHS staff, paralegals etc.

CherryChasingDotMuncher Wed 17-May-17 13:08:44

You can get out of jury duty if you're on a low income I believe and you think it will adversely affect your finances.

ScarletSienna Wed 17-May-17 13:14:45

Justkeepdancing-it may have changed as there are very very few occupations that exempt you now. I'm a part time teacher in my thirties with a toddler and had to wait almost a month to be reinbursed. It was in December too which meant money was probably tighter than usual.

I found the jury manager and staff to be really approachable-they didn't want anyone to stress about it so always say to go to them with any difficulties.

ThePants999 Wed 17-May-17 13:22:35

They don't send the summons via recorded delivery. Bin it, and if they ever call, claim you never received it. For all the bluster about how it's a huge crime, they're too busy to care, and summon far more jurors than they need because people do this.

MorrisZapp Wed 17-May-17 13:27:06

I was just at jury selection this morning, I wasn't called to serve.

The court clerk said 'if you have any appointments over the next three days, come forward now'. Literally half the room got up, and were instantly excused without being asked for any evidence etc.

I think you can probably evade service pretty easily.

worridmum Wed 17-May-17 13:30:08

ThePants999 can you imagine if most people did that fair trails would be a thing of the past.

JustKeepDancing Wed 17-May-17 13:31:49

Scarlet - oh that's interesting. I wonder if it's different in different parts of the UK? I'm in Scotland and went last year, the letter made me laugh - lots of the expected with practicing legal professionals, MPs, etc but also vets and nurses (apparently they're both under medical professionals!) are exempt. Nurses I can understand but vets?! That one made me a bit hmmgrin!

The staff were lovely, completely agree, if anyone is nervous don't be! They were really helpful smile

Redglitter Wed 17-May-17 13:36:47

There's a trial just finished at one of the Glasgow courts which started in Sept 2015!!! Imagine the expenses claim if you had to wait for the end of that to get them.

Have to wonder who was on the jury who could afford to spend that length of time at court

Pigface1 Wed 17-May-17 13:40:52

I don't understand what you do about work if you're called into one of those super log trials. Work can't keep paying you for months and months. Won't you lose out?

Nicknacky Wed 17-May-17 13:42:34

Redglitter, it's a pity I'm exempt as I wouldn't mind 18 months away from my work right now lol!

Although over 18 months on a fraud trial, how boringshock

MrsJayy Wed 17-May-17 13:43:22

You can tell them you can't afford the travel and expenses when you are called up you just need to phone them

MrsJayy Wed 17-May-17 13:45:11

When my mum did it the court had an expenses office she claimed it back there and then

Redglitter Wed 17-May-17 13:45:46

nicknacky I have to agree 18 months break would be lovely grin Bet we'd go back to the same crap - only worse!!!

I think I'd have lost the will to live listening to that evidence

fuckwitery Wed 17-May-17 13:46:14

Everyone has issues doing jury service, some bigger, some smaller, but who do you want to do it? Its part of your duty.

"its easy to evade"

well it shouldn't be. You can chose to push it back if you have a holiday booked or are starting a new job etc, but only once. And I think that's fair.

I think it's bloody entitled to think everyone's problems are less important than yours. Presumably you want a jury system in the UK and for criminals / non-criminals to get a fair trial?

Teardropexplodes Wed 17-May-17 13:47:37

I thought jurors got a meal allowance? Pretty sure they do in the court I work from.

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