If I have been selected for jury duty, how may I get out of it?
In South Australia there are three jury districts located in Adelaide, Port Augusta and Mount Gambier. If you have been selected to be part of a jury, you have been randomly chosen by a computer selection from the electoral rolls which make up the jury districts. If you are between 18 years of age and 70 years of age and are on the electoral roll for the jury districts you are then qualified and liable to be summonsed to attend jury service. The Juries Act provides that jurors are chosen at random, thus not allowing anyone to volunteer to do jury duty.
How can you be disqualified from serving as a juror?
Any person who has been convicted of a criminal offence may be disqualified from performing jury duty. However, the disqualification depends on the type of offence and when the person was convicted. Disqualification periods range from approximately five years to lifetime. If you are unsure about whether you are qualified or not to serve as a juror, contact the Sheriff’s Office as they will be able to clarify this for you.
How can you be ineligible from serving as a juror?
The Juries Act provides those that are ineligible from serving as a juror:
- Persons who are mentally or physically unfit to carry out the duties of a juror. This includes persons who suffer from hearing loss or any other medical condition which may affect their jury service
- Persons who have insufficient command of the English language to enable them to properly carry out the duties of a juror
- Persons who fall within the following categories:
- The Governor, the Lieutenant-Governor and their spouses
- Members of Parliament
- Members of the Judiciary and their spouses
- Justices of the Peace who perform court duties and their spouses
- Legal practitioners actually practising as such
- Members of the Police Force and their spouses
- Persons employed in a department of the Government whose duties of office are connected with the investigation of offences, the administration of justice or the punishment of offenders
- Persons employed in the administration of courts or in the recording or transcription of evidence taken before the courts.
Any person who is summonsed for serving jury duty and considers he or she is ineligible must claim this by completing and application form explaining these particular reasons.
If you are not an ineligible or disqualified person you must attend for jury duty in accordance with your jury summons. However, if there is a special urgency or importance that you know about it, you can apply to the Sherriff to have your service deferred to a period of time that may be more appropriate for yourself. The request must be made on the application form which can be found on the Court Administration Authority website. The Sheriff, in some circumstances, may require that your application should be in the form of a statutory declaration. A statutory declaration is a written statement of which you would swear, affirm or declare to be true in the presence of an authorised witness.
If you have any queries, contact the Sheriff’s Office or visit at their location at Sir Samuel Way Building, Victoria Square, Adelaide SA 5000. All applications that are submitted are based on their own individual merit.
If you would like further information regarding jury duty, please contact us on 08 7132 5636 to speak with one of our experienced Adelaide lawyers.