Jury service is a public duty and can be a fulfilling experience. Almost any resident in the UK aged from 18 to 75 years may be summoned to serve on a jury. Once summoned, jury service is obligatory unless the individual is disqualified from serving, has the right to be excused or has a valid reason for discretionary excusal. Some situations may render an individual ineligible for jury service – for example, those with less than five years’ residency, serious mental health problems or certain previous convictions.
Employees who hold certain public positions have the right to reasonable time off to perform duties associated with that position. The amount of time spent away from work in pursuit of public duties must be negotiated and you can refuse a request that is unreasonable.
Key learning points
This advice will help you understand your responsibilities towards your employees if they are summoned for jury service or undertake public duties. It will help you to:
- Understand the limited circumstances when an individual can be excused jury service and the circumstances when discretionary excusal or deferral can be requested
- Consider whether you should top up the allowance paid by the court to allow the employee to receive their normal pay when undertaking jury service
- Consider how you might manage an employee’s right to undertake public duties and to negotiate reasonable time off.