Time off for jury service

Trial by jury is a key part of our legal system and our democratic way of life. Jury service is an important responsibility for all citizens. Find out about your right to time off work for jury service.

Does your employer have to give you time off for jury service?

If you are called up for jury service your employer must allow you time off for this. If they don't, they could be in contempt of court. If you are an employee you have the right not to be treated unfairly (for example, not being considered for promotion) because of your call-up.

Payment

Your employer does not have to pay you whilst you are on jury service. But you can claim for travel and food expenses and for loss of earnings from the court.

You need to get your employer to fill out a Certificate of Loss of Earnings to claim for loss of earnings. There are limits on the amount that you can claim.

Deferring or not attending jury service

You can ask for your jury service to be deferred. You can only do this once and for no more than 12 months from the original date.

If you want to be excluded from jury service altogether you need to write to the Jury Central Summoning Bureau setting out your reasons why. However, unless you have already served as a juror within the previous two years, your call-up is likely to be deferred.

How long does jury service last?

Jury service usually lasts for 10 days, but some trials take longer. Jurors are usually warned in advance if a trial is expected to last a long time.

Unfair dismissal

If you are sacked because you have been called up for or done jury service you can claim unfair dismissal. However, if your employer told you your absence would have a serious effect on their business and you didn't ask for your call-up to be deferred or to be excused, the dismissal is likely to be fair.

What to do next

If you have been called up for jury service you should:
  • let your employer know how long you'll need off and what arrangements need to be made for cover in your absence
  • hand over a copy of the Confirmation of Jury Service letter you receive from the court to your employer
If your employer mistreats you for taking jury service you should first of all follow the grievance procedure outlined in your contract.

http://www.direct.gov.uk
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