Applying to be excused
You can ask to be excused from jury service for various reasons, including the kind of work you do, personal circumstances or because you are away from the state.
In terms of the Jury Amendment Act 2010, you may have 'good cause' to be excused if:
jury service would cause undue hardship or serious inconvenience to you, your family or the public
you have a disability that makes you unsuitable or incapable of effectively serving as a juror, without reasonable accommodation
there is a conflict of interest or some other knowledge, acquaintance or friendship that you have which may result in your being perceived as lacking impartiality as a juror
there is some other reason that would affect your ability to perform the functions of a juror.
The sheriff may also consider excusing you in other circumstances, including if:
you are a sole trader or contractor
you are a carer
you are in an advanced stage of pregnancy or are having medical difficulties during your pregnancy
you are an emergency service operational employee
you are enrolled in education and need to attend lectures or exams; or are living outside your jury district to undertake studies
you have a mental or physical impairment
you are absent from NSW
you have transport difficulties, such as unsuitable or unavailable public transport.
you are unable to read and understand English
To apply to be excused, complete the application on the back of your jury summons. Attach supporting documents. These could include:
a current medical certificate stating 'Not suitable for jury service'
a carers card or if not identified as a legal carer, a letter from a medical practitioner
confirmation of overseas flights, hotel or tour bookings.
Then email, fax or post the application plus documents to the address given on the summons.
Make sure you send off your application well before the summons date.
The Office of the Sheriff takes all applications seriously, and understands that serving on a jury is an interruption and possibly an inconvenience in your daily life.
You need to get written confirmation from the Office of the Sheriff that you have been excused. Please do not assume you have been excused if you do not receive this confirmation.
If you have not received a letter, please call the Jury Information Line on 1300 722 574 or call your local sheriff’s office (details will be written on your summons) to find out the outcome.
It is important that you apply before your summons date, to prevent further inconvenience to you and the court.
However, you can apply to be excused the day that you report for jury service at court. There are two types of official to whom you can make the request the day you report for jury service.
You may present the reasons for why you should be excused to the sheriff's staff member while you are still in the jury assembly area. Your reasons will be considered. Bring any supporting documents, such as letters from your employer or doctor.
You can also make a request to be excused to the judge or coroner when you are called into court. If your reasons relate to your health or would cause you ‘embarrassment or distress if made public’ you can make a written application and ask for it to be handed to the judge.
An example of a confidential reason could be that you were a victim of sexual assault who has been asked to serve on a jury panel in a similar case. Another example is that you may need to go for surgery or other medical treatment that you do not wish to disclose to anyone other than the judge or coroner.
You should raise your concerns when invited by the judge and before being empanelled.
In cases where jurors are unable to complete the trial, a new trial may have to be called, which can be very costly to participants and taxpayers.
If you come to court willing to serve on a jury, but are not selected as a juror, you will be exempted from further jury service for 12 months.
If you provide false or misleading information in your application to be excused, you may be fined up to $5500.
Although you may be excused from attending this time, you could receive another summons for a later date. This could happen several times in the year that you are on the jury roll.
Which form to fill in
If you are applying to be excused from jury service, fill in the form at the back of your jury summons and attach copies of supporting documents.
The information on this page reflects current changes from the Jury Amendment Act 2010. This Act is expected to come into effect early in 2012.