Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyhelper.org.uk

Written by: Cara Bradley //
Approximate reading time: 5 minutes

Have you been called up for jury duty? If so, we understand that you may have a number of questions, especially when it comes to your financial rights.
If you live in England, it is estimated that you have a 35% chance of being called for jury duty in your lifetime.
The prospect of jury duty can seem a little daunting, especially when you don’t know what to expect.
What if you have a holiday booked on the dates you’ve been summoned?
What if your employer doesn’t pay you?
Could you lose your job for attending jury duty?
We’ve answered some of the most common questions below, which we hope may be of some help and offer some peace of mind should you be called up.

What exactly is jury duty?

Jury duty – otherwise known as jury service – is an integral and important part of the justice system.
When somebody is accused of a crime and appears in court, they have the right to be tried by 12 members of the wider community (jurors), who are dissociated from the case.

How are people chosen for jury duty?

Names are chosen at random from the electoral register. If your name is chosen, you will receive a summon letter through the post, which you must respond to within seven days. You will receive a form with your letter – this must be completed and return along with your response.
Failure to return the form and respond to the letter within the set timeframe could result in a £1,000 fine.
If you have a good reason as to why the form was not returned on time (for example, you were away on holiday), you must still return the paperwork as soon as you can, even if the initial seven day response period has expired.

To be eligible to attend jury duty, you must:

  • Be over the age of 18 and under the age of 75 on the service start date;
  • Have lived in the UK for at least five years, following your 13th birthday; and
  • Be registered to vote in the UK.

Do I have to attend jury duty?

Attending jury duty is a legal requitement. If you do not attend, you could face a penalty.
If, on the morning of your jury duty, an emergency arises or you feel poorly, you must contact the juries officer (whose contact details you can find on your summon letter) no later than 09:30am.

Under certain circumstances, you may be able to request a change of date. This could be the case if you:

  • Have a pre-existing holiday booked;
  • Are having an operation;
  • Are sitting an exam;
  • Are a new parent; or
  • Your employer will not let you take time off.

To arrange a change of date, you must respond to the summon letter, explain your reasons for being unable to attend the original date, and suggest three alternate dates within the next 12 months that you are able to make.

Good to know: it is only possible to change the date of your jury service once.

You may be excused from jury duty if you:

  • Have already done jury duty within the last two years;
  • Have a serious illness or disability that could prevent you from partaking in jury duty;
  • Are a full time carer for someone with an illness or disability; or
  • Are a new parent, and cannot attend anytime within the next 12 months.

You will also not be eligible to sit on the jury if you:

  • Are in hospital;
  • Are under a community treatment order for mental health treatment;
  • Are on bail;
  • Have been to prison or had a community order within the past 10 years; or
  • Have ever served a prison sentence longer than 5 years.

If you need to be excused from jury duty, you must reply to your summon letter within the time frame and detail your reasons. You may be asked to supply additional evidence (for example, hospital letters).
If your request to be excused is turned down, remember that it is still possible for you to ask for a date change instead.

Good to know: even if you are excused from jury duty on this occasion, it is possible that you may be re-summoned in the future.

How long can jury duty last?

On average, jury duty tends to last for approximately 10 working days.
If the trial is predicted to last longer, you will be informed by the jury staff. On the other hand, if the trail runs for less than 10 days, there is a chance that you may be asked to attend alternate trials as a juror.

Usually, you will be required to arrive early for your first day in court, and then be asked to attend between the hours of 10am and 5:50pm, Monday to Friday, although this may vary. You should refer to your summon letter for the exact times and dates of your duty.

Will my employer pay me while I’m absent due to jury duty?

It is up to your employer whether or not they pay you during your absence for jury duty. Every employer is different, and the decision is down to their discretion.
Being informed that your employer will not pay you for attending jury duty can make for a really stressful situation. Please try not to panic – there are other options to look into, as we will explain below.

My employer won’t pay me for my jury duty absence. Am I entitled to any other payments or benefits?

If your employer does not pay you for attending jury duty, you are able to claim compensation from the court.

Basic loss of earnings

Timeframe Hours in Court Claimable Amount
First 10 days of jury duty More than 4 Up to £64.95 per day
First 10 days of jury duty 4 or less Up to £32.47 per day
More than 10 days of jury duty More than 4 Up to £129.91 per day
More than 10 days of jury duty 4 or less Up to £64.95 per day

Food and Drink

Hours in Court Claimable Amount
Up to (and including) 10 hours a day Up to £5.71 per day
Over 10 hours a day Up to £12.17 per day

Travel and Transportation

Method of Transport Used to Attend Court Claimable Amount
Bicycle 9.6p per mile
Motorcycle 31.4p per mile
Bus Cost of the ticket
Underground Cost of the ticket
Train Cost of the ticket (as a standard class return)
Car 31.4p per mile
Car (for one other juror as a passenger) 4.2p per mile
Car (for each additional passenger) 3.2p per mile
Taxi It is advised to speak with the court and seek their permission before taking a taxi. They may offer to cover the total amount of the fare.

Good to know: It’s worth asking if you are also able to claim for any related parking. Some courts may also be willing to cover this expense.

You may find it useful to estimate your expenses using the jury duty calculator tool on the Gov.uk website.

I’m self-employed – what can I claim for attending jury duty?

If you are self-employed, you can claim the following compensation:

  • Up to £64.95 per day for loss of earnings, including the cost of childcare;
  • Up to £5.71 per day for food; and
  • The cost of travel to and from court.

How can I claim my compensation?

Before your jury duty begins, you will be sent a jury pack, which will include an expenses claim form.
Once you have completed your service, you should submit this form along with any receipts you have accumulated and a loss of earnings certificate completed by your employer or benefit’s office. If you are self employed, you will need to send your most recent tax return.

Good to know: Expenses claim forms must be submitted within 12 months of the date the service began.

How long will it take me to get my money back?

It should take around 7-10 days to process your claim and get your money back.

Could I lose my job for attending jury duty?

This is something many people worry about, but please be assured that your employer cannot sack you for attending jury duty. If they do attempt to sack you for this reason, you are within your rights to claim unfair dismissal.

Your employer must allow you to attend your jury service however, if your absence is likely to have a negative impact on the business, they have the right to ask you to request a change of date.
If you employer refuses to let you take the time off to attend jury duty, you can lodge a complaint via an employment tribunal.

It’s handy to keep a copy of your summon letter in case this is something your employer requires as evidence of your time off.

Things to take away

We hope our guide has helped with any queries you may have relating to jury duty.
The key points to remember are:

  • Your employer cannot sack you for attending jury duty.
  • It is your employer’s decision whether or not they pay for your jury duty absence.
  • If your employer has advised that they will not pay you for attending jury duty, there are certain expenses you can claim.
  • You are also able to claim expenses if you are self-employed.
  • If you are not able to attend jury duty as listed on your summon letter, it may be possible to request a change of date.

CashLady Representative 79.5% APR

Representative Example

Amount of credit:
£1000 for 12 months
at £123.40 per month
Total amount repayable of £1,480.77
Interest: £480.77
Interest rate: 79.5% pa (fixed)
79.5% APR Representative

Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems.
For help, go to moneyhelper.org.uk

Get your personalised quote today!

How much do you want to borrow? Representative 79.5% APR

CashLady Representative 79.5% APR