Getting a summons

Once you submit your prospective juror questionnaire, your name will be placed into a second ballot if you’re available and eligible or we don’t accept your application for excusal.

If your name is randomly selected in the ballot, we send you a summons for jury service. The summons will tell you:

  • the length and dates of your jury service period
  • what court you will need to attend
  • your panel and juror name.

Receiving a summons doesn’t mean you will definitely sit on a trial jury. However, you must remain available throughout your jury service period to attend court for jury selection (empanelment) if needed.

If you’re employed, show your summons to your employer immediately so they can arrange for your absence.

When to attend court

During the summons period, you must attend on certain days to participate in the empanelling process. The court decides the afternoon before the trial begins if they need you for jury selection the next day.

We don’t personally tell jurors when they must attend court, so be sure to check each evening to see if you’re needed.

Your summons contains your panel identifier. You need this information to find out whether you’re needed in court each day.

Each evening you should either:

  • call the phone number listed on your summons for a recorded message, such as ‘Jurors on Panel E numbers 133 to 163 inclusive are required for Wednesday 30 October 2013 at 9.15am sharp’
  • check the daily law list, which has jury information for each Supreme and District Court courthouse.

Being excused from jury service

If your situation has changed since you returned your questionnaire, you can still apply to be excused from jury service. Write to the deputy sheriff, who will decide if your request is reasonable.

Work is not usually an acceptable reason to be excused, so tell your employer when you’ll be on jury service as soon as you receive your summons.

Urgent excusal

If you have an urgent application to be excused, which wouldn’t be received in time, contact the deputy sheriff using the phone number on the summons.

Partial excusal

If travel or work has been organised that can’t be cancelled, such as going away for business, you may apply for a partial excusal. This excuses you for a short time during your jury service.

To apply, contact the deputy sheriff and provide proof, such as copies of your airline tickets, hotel booking, travel itinerary and a letter from your employer. (Your employer can’t apply for a partial excusal on your behalf—the application must come from you.)

Refer to your summons for details of doing this.

If you lose your summons

Your nearest Supreme or District Court registry can reprint a summons and post it to you.

If you don’t attend court

A summons to serve jury service is a legal document. If you don’t go to court when requested without a reasonable excuse, you’re committing an offence and may be fined up to $1100 or imprisoned for up to two months.