The Court Bailiff selects the jury list from the latest register of voters. The Clerk of Courts selects the panel of jurors from the jury list. A new panel is selected for each session of the courts, and it excludes anyone who has served on any of the last six panels. This is a random procedure designed to ensure impartiality and an even distribution of the duties to as many citizens as possible. Your jury service will last for a session of the Grand Court, which is normally two months.
You are exempt from jury service if you are in certain professions, including recognized pastors and ministers of religion and medical practitioners. You are disqualified from jury service if you have been convicted for a serious offence and not received a free pardon. You should not be required to serve on a jury if you are over 70 years of age.
If service on a long trial will cause you exceptional hardship (e.g. if you are self-employed and run your own business or if you have some other unavoidable commitment that would be severely affected) you must write to the Clerk before the commencement of your session, stating this and the reasons for it. The Chief Justice or another judge will decide whether you should be excused from jury service.
If you are empanelled on a jury and serve as a juror for a trial you may claim an allowance of $50.00 per day (except civil servants) plus $1.00 for each mile traveled in order to attend Court. If you are not chosen as a juror you may only claim the travel allowance. You will be given a claim form. All particulars on the form must be completed. It is your responsibility to record the dates you attend or serve and submit this form to the Clerk of the Court at the end of this session. A cheque will then be issued to you and your employer will be notified of this payment.
Once you have received payment for serving you must pay the CI$50.00 allowance to your employer. However, if you earn less than CI$50.00 per day, you must give your employer that amount. For example, if you earn CI$100.00 per day, you must give your employer the CI$50.00 allowance, but if you only earn CI$45.00 per day then you only give him CI$45.00.
If you serve for more than a two month period and your employer has suffered financially as a result of this, then the employer may apply to the Accountant General (c/o Treasury Dept., Admin. Building) for compensation.
The Judge does not always know until the day of the trial if a jury trial is needed. Although preliminary enquiries are made, defendants have the right to change their pleas even up until the morning of the trial. They also have the right to elect trial by jury or trail by judge alone. There are other circumstances, such as illness of witnesses or defendants failing to appear, which cause trials to be adjourned.
If the Judge knows when you are next needed, you will be told before you leave the Courthouse. However, there are times when the court is uncertain when you should attend next, or that date may change. Please ring 244-3899 after 6:00 p.m. each evening. This is a voice mail which will contain instructions.
You may have to wait some time, so you may find it helpful to bring along a book or magazine or something else to do. Please do not bring personal stereos, mobile telephones or audio/visual equipment. They will not be allowed in the courtroom and staff cannot be responsible for your personal belongings.
It is important that you understand the case. If at any time you want to ask a question, write it down and pass it to the foreman of the jury. The foreman will then raise your question with the judge. Please raise your hand or say “excuse me” to get the Judge’s attention if:
While serving as a juror you must not talk outside the jury room about any case. You must not show or tell anyone details of any discussions or votes cast in the jury room. If you do, you may be in contempt of court. If anyone who is not a member of your jury tries to ask you about what you or any other juror talked about in the jury room, they may be in contempt of court. If anyone does approach you whilst you are serving as a juror, tell a court official at once. These rules continue to apply even after the trial is over.
IF YOU NEED TO CONTACT THE COURT OFFICE ABOUT YOUR JURY SERVICE, PLEASE RING: 949-4296 and ask for the Grand Court Clerk.