What is a jury?
It is commonly known that judges, civil or criminal lawyers participate in court cases, but as a common citizen you could also be involved through becoming a member of a jury.
Juries are used in the NSW District and Supreme Courts to:
hear and determine more serious criminal matters
hear and determine civil matters involving large monetary claims
Juries are also used in coronial inquests in the NSW Coroner's Court.
In criminal trials, a jury hears evidence, applies the law as directed by the judge, and decides if a person is guilty or not guilty of a crime, based on the facts. A jury does not participate in the sentencing process.
In most criminal trials, 12 people are selected to be on the jury. There can be up to 15 jurors in a jury if a trial is expected to last longer than three months. To be empanelled means to be chosen for a specific trial.
Civil trials occasionally require juries as well. But cases which require juries are usually defamation proceedings. The trial judge will outline the issues the jury needs to consider to decide who is at fault. A civil trial jury is typically comprised of 4 jurors. In the Supreme Court, 12 jurors may be ordered.
Overview of the Jury Service Process
Notice of Inclusion - you may be selected in the future
Jury Summons - you have been selected to attend court
Arriving at Court – you should attend the jury assembly area
Jury Selection - random selection
Juror Support Program - support after jury service
People ineligible to serve
People falling into certain categories set out in the legislation are ineligible to serve on a jury. These include, but are not limited to:
people employed or engaged (except on a casual or voluntary basis) in the public sector in law enforcement; criminal investigation; the provision of legal services in criminal cases; the administration of justice or penal administration
people who are unable to read or understand English
people who are unable, because of sickness, infirmity or disability, to discharge the duties of a juror.
How Austin Haworth & Lexon Legal can help you
If you have been selected for jury service, you can come to Austin Haworth & Lexon Legal and we can tell you what to expect, and under what circumstances you may be excused from jury