Common questions about jury service

Who is ineligible for jury service?

List of ineligible people

You may be excluded from jury service if you’re ineligible or granted an excusal from serving for a particular period.

In Queensland, you’re ineligible for jury service if you are:

  • the Governor
  • a member of Parliament
  • a local government mayor or other councillor
  • person who is or has been a judge or magistrate (in Queensland or elsewhere)
  • a person who is or has been a presiding member of the Land and Resources Tribunal
  • a lawyer engaged in legal work
  • a person who is or has been a police officer (in Queensland or elsewhere)
  • a detention centre employee
  • a corrective services officer
  • a person who is 70 years or more, if the person has not elected to be eligible for jury service
  • a person who is not able to read or write the English language
  • a person who has a physical or mental disability that makes the person incapable of effectively performing the functions or a juror
  • a person who has been convicted of an indictable offence, whether on indictment or in a summary proceeding
  • a person who has been sentenced (in Queensland or elsewhere) to imprisonment.

If you’re unsure if you’re eligible for jury service, contact your local courthouse.

Having a disability

If you have a mental or physical disability, such as a hearing or sight impairment, you may be incapable of performing the duties of a juror.

If this is the case, you (or a helper/carer) should complete the appropriate section on the questionnaire. Upload/include a medical certificate from your medical practitioner with your questionnaire.

If you wish to be considered permanently ineligible for jury service, your medical practitioner must state that your medical condition precludes you from ever being able to serve as a juror.

Language difficulties

If you don’t easily understand spoken or written English, you should apply to be excused from jury service.

All jurors must understand everything that happens in court, and read and understand all documents that are part of the case.

If this is the case, you (or a helper/family member) should complete the appropriate section on the questionnaire and upload/post it.

Ineligible occupations

As stated in the list of reasons for ineligibility, the only occupations that are ineligible for jury service are:

  • the governor
  • a member of parliament
  • a local government mayor or other councillor
  • a person who is or has been a judge or magistrate (in Queensland or elsewhere)
  • a person who is or has been a presiding member of the Land and Resources Tribunal
  • a lawyer actually engaged in legal work
  • a person who is or has been a police officer (in Queensland or elsewhere)
  • a detention centre employee
  • a corrective services officer.
  • a member of the defence forces (excluding members of the reserves)

Criminal convictions

You may be ineligible to serve on a jury if you’ve been:

  • convicted of an indictable offence before the Supreme or District Court or a summary proceeding in the Magistrates Court
  • sentenced to imprisonment in Queensland or elsewhere.

What are the jury districts?

Jury districts ensure prospective jurors are within travelling distance of the nearest Supreme or District Court. The area covered by a jury district varies depending on the size of the city or town.

Jury districts usually comprise an area within a 20km radius of the courthouse, except in larger cities.

If you receive a notice and you’re unsure whether you’re within the jury district, contact your local courthouse.

Are the myths about jury service true?

Myth

Truth

I can volunteer for jury service.

Jurors are selected through a random process. You can’t volunteer for jury service. See the jury selection process.

I need knowledge of the law to do jury service.

Jurors come from all walks of life and don’t need legal knowledge. They just need to be fair, impartial and willing to keep an open mind.

My employer can sack me if I miss work for jury service.

It’s illegal for your employer to fire or penalise you for doing jury service. In fact, they must help you make yourself available for jury service.

If I get a summons, I will serve on a jury.

Getting a summons just means you may have to go to court for jury selection. You may or may not have to serve on a jury. Read more about getting a summons.

I may have to travel far in Queensland for jury service.

The state is divided into ‘jury districts’ and jurors are selected for service in their local Supreme or District Court in the jury district. Jury district areas usually comprise 20km or so around the courthouse.

I will be at court all day.

How long you’re at court depends whether you’re selected—empanelled—to serve on a jury. If you’re not, you’ll be free to go earlier. If you are, you’ll stay until court finishes, usually around 5pm.

I have to swear an oath on the Bible.

You can either swear an oath or make an affirmation—a pledge—to fulfil your service as a juror. You can choose to swear on the Bible or another religious book.

I can’t go home when I’m on a jury.

Usually you can go home each night during the trial. If the jury doesn’t reach a verdict, the judge may order the jury to stay. In this case, a hotel is provided for you.

Jury service could go for months.

Jury service usually lasts a few weeks, during which you could serve in several trials or none at all. Major trials may run longer than the length of your jury service.

Once I’ve done jury service, I’ll keep getting called for it.

The process is random each time. And, after you serve as a juror, you can then be excused for 12 months.