What is jury service for an inquest?

When you serve on an inquest jury, you sit in the Coroner’s Court with other jurors and listen to facts about a person’s death. 

What is a jury summons?

A jury summons is a letter telling you that you must attend jury service. It will tell you the day, time and place you must attend. You must confirm that you can attend.

It will also include a form you must fill in, sign and return in the pre-paid envelope attached to reply.

Who can be a juror?

To serve on a jury, you must:

  • be aged between 18 and 70 years old
  • be on  the  electoral register
  • have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for a period of at least 5 years since you were 13 years old

You may not serve on a jury if you are a mentally disordered person or a person disqualified to serve on a jury according to Parts I and II of Schedule 1 of the Juries Act 1974.

Do I have to attend?

Yes. It is an offence not to attend if you’re summoned, unless you have a good reason. You can be fined up to £1000 if you do not attend.

If you wish to be excused from jury service because of poor health, work or any other special reason, you must let the Coroner’s Court know by using the response form attached to your jury summons to explain your reasons.

You must provide supporting evidence such as letters from your employer or a doctor, or anything else that shows why you cannot attend to the Coroner within 3 days of receiving the summons.

How many people are on an inquest jury?

The jury is usually made up of 11 people chosen at random.

How long will my jury service last?

It depends on the case. Please refer to your summons letter for how long it will take.

Does my employer have to give me time off for jury service?

Yes. The Employment Rights Act 1996 says that your employer must give you time off.