Getting a summons

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

If your name is randomly selected, 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 number.

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.

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

On the business day before you can check by:

  • calling 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 2022 at 9.15am’
  • checking the daily law list, which has jury information for each Supreme and District Court courthouse
  • receiving at text message advising you of the time and date of your attendance – if you have provided your mobile number.

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 at location shown on your summons, 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 how to contact the deputy sheriff.

If you lose your summons

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

If you don’t attend court

A summons to serve as a juror is a legal document. If you do not attend, and you don’t have a reasonable excuse, you are committing an offence that may be classed as contempt of court. You may be required to appear before a Judge to explain why you were not there, be fined or face a period of imprisonment.