Being excused from jury service

Reasons you may be excused

In Queensland, you can’t postpone your jury service, but you may be considered for excusal for the following reasons:

  • You have served as a juror in the past 12 months.
  • Your state of health.
  • Carer commitments during all or part of the time you’d be required.
  • Your work or study commitments make it absolutely impossible.
  • Jury service would result in personal financial hardship.
  • Jury service would result in substantial financial hardship to a business where you’re employed.
  • Jury service is against your religious beliefs.
  • Other reason (to be explained).

Permanent excusal

You can be excused from jury service permanently if you:

(a) You can be excused from jury service permanently if you have medical reasons, such as illness or disability. You’ll need to provide a medical certificate that states you must be permanently excused.

(b) Persons aged 70 years and over are not qualified to undertake jury service unless they elect to do so.  When a questionnaire is received, a person aged 70 years or more may:

  • If they wish to undertake service – elect accordingly and return questionnaire.
  • If they do not wish to undertake jury service – request a permanent excusal and return questionnaire, or;
  • Do nothing.  No further action will be taken but the person may receive further questionnaires in the future.  It’s therefore recommended that persons aged 70 years and over that do not wish to undertake jury service seek a permanent excusal to avoid receiving further questionnaires in the future.

If you are the carer for a person in (a) or (b) above and the person is unable to complete the questionnaire, please return the uncompleted questionnaire to the registry along with a note explaining the circumstances.

Being excused later

If you make yourself available but your circumstances change later, such as after you receive a summons, you can apply for an excusal at that time.

Being overseas

If you are overseas, complete the form online or have someone return the notice via mail and include a letter stating the date you left, how long you will be overseas and the date you expect to return.

Future jury service

Even if your application is granted, you will still be listed as available for future jury service (at which time you can re-examine your circumstances and apply for excusal if necessary).

Applying for excusal

To apply for excusal, complete the application for excusal section on your questionnaire (either online or on the paper questionnaire):

  1. Provide details about why you can’t perform the jury service you’ve been selected for.
  2. If necessary, use a separate piece of paper to explain why you need to be excused.
  3. Support your reasons with evidence, depending on the grounds for your request:
    1. work commitments—a written statement from your employer (see below)
    2. medical grounds—a medical certificate stating the period of time that you can’t serve as a juror
    3. study commitments—a copy of your student identification card and timetable
    4. holidays—a travel itinerary or tickets
    5. personal or financial grounds—an explanation, such as that you are employed casually and will lose your income by performing jury service.
  4. Either:
    1. upload the supporting documentation within the online questionnaire and submit your form
    2. mail the questionnaire and supporting documentation to us.

Once your application for excusal has been determined, you will be advised of the outcome by text message, email or post.

Note that court may not grant your application for excusal.

However, you may not be required for jury service even if you don’t apply for excusal. There are several steps in the process of determining your suitability for jury service.

Work and family-related excusal

Work-related excusal

When you receive a 'Notice to prospective juror', discuss the potential impact of jury service with your employer. (You would probably attend no more than two mornings a week unless you’re empanelled on a trial.)

If you apply to be excused for work-related reasons, provide a letter from your employer stating why you can’t attend.

The letter should provide information as to:

  • whether jury service would result in substantial hardship to you because of your employment or personal circumstances
  • whether jury service would result in substantial financial hardship to you
  • whether the jury service would result in substantial inconvenience to the public or a section of the public.

Upload/include a copy of this letter with your completed questionnaire.

Your employer can’t ask the court to excuse you from jury service—only a juror can apply.

By law, your employer can’t dismiss or disadvantage you for attending jury service. Any employer convicted of such an offence could be jailed for up to one year.

Family-related excusal

If you receive a 'Notice to prospective juror' and have children, other dependents or other personal responsibilities, start planning alternative arrangements to cover these commitments in case you receive a summons.

Consider that the jury service could be any time during the year, including school holidays, and may require you to stay overnight at the end of the trial to reach a verdict.

If you can’t make alternative arrangements, apply to be excused from jury service. Give the exact reason why you can’t perform jury service for the whole notice period.

If you’re unavailable at a particular time or day during the notice period, note this also.

If you don’t apply

If you don’t apply to be excused, you may be eligible to be placed in a second selection, based on the answers to your questionnaire. If you’re randomly selected in this selection, you will receive a summons.