CAN I EVER BE EXCUSED FROM JURY DUTY?
Do I need to attend jury duty?
Serving on a jury is an important responsibility for Australian citizens as it ensures everyone is able to participate in the administration of justice. If you have received a summons letter to go to court for jury duty you are required to comply with it because it is a legal document. If you fail to attend court as required, you may be forced to pay a fine of up to $2,200.
How can I be excused from jury duty?
You can only be excused from jury service if you have ‘’good cause’’ to do so.
Under the Jury Amendment Act 2010, ‘’good cause’’ is where you can show that one of the following circumstances applies to you:
- jury duty would cause undue hardship or serious inconvenience to you or your family
- you have a disability that makes you unsuitable or incapable of effectively serving as a juror, without reasonable accommodation
- you have a permanent mental or physical impairment that makes you incapable of doing jury duty, or that would injure your health if you were to do jury duty
- there is a conflict of interest or some other knowledge, acquaintance, or friendship that you have, which may result in your being perceived as lacking impartiality as a juror.
You may also be considered for exemption from jury duty if you can show that you are:
- are a sole trader or contractor
- are a carer for a child, sick person or person with a disability
- are in an advanced stage of pregnancy
- are an emergency service employee
- are enrolled in studies and need to attend lectures or exams
- have a pre-booked holiday or other travel commitments
- have difficulty accessing transport to court
- are unable to understand English.
You will need to provide supporting documents with your exemption application, this could include a medical certificate, confirmation of exam timetables or prior travel commitments.
You can also be excluded from jury service entirely if you hold a position in a high public office, are employed in certain public sector roles related to the courts and justice systems, or have a criminal conviction.
It is always best if you apply for an exemption in advance at https://juror.nsw.gov.au but you can also make a request on the day to a sheriff staff member, judge or coroner.
Further info on applying for exemption from jury service is available on the Department of Communities and Justice website here.
Does my work need to give permission for me to serve on a jury?
As outlined in the Jury Act 1977, your employer must make you available for jury duty. They can face fines of up to $22,000 if they do not let you attend court, terminate your employment or disadvantage you in any way for doing so.
Your employer is also not allowed to force you to take holidays or sick leave to attend jury duty, ask you to make up for missed time, or alter your employment in any way due to your jury service.
Do I get paid for jury duty?
Provided that you are not a casual employee, your employer is required under the Fair Work Act 2009 to pay you for the first ten days of jury service.
You will also be paid a daily juror allowance by the NSW Government. This amount will not be equal to your normal wage or salary but is meant reduce any financial hardship that you may endure.
The amount you are paid depends on the length of the trial and whether you are currently employed. Payments range from $106.30 to $247.40 per day served. You are also paid a travel allowance which is calculated on the distance from your postcode to the courthouse (at 30.7 cents per kilometre).