I recently wondered who may sit on a jury for jury service. Are certain people excluded and not allowed serve? Can I refuse to attend if I am selected? Should I be refunded my travel expenses if I cannot refuse to attend?
In Ireland, most serious criminal offences require a trial by a judge and jury. The jury will consist of 12 members of the public who are selected from a number of people who were called to do their jury service on that day. The jurors decide whether a person is guilty or not guilty of the offence for which he or she has been charged, based on the facts of the case.
Jurors are contacted by summons stating that they are obliged to attend for jury service on a particular date.
Every Irish citizen over 18 years of age who is on the Register of Dáil Electorsis eligible for jury service. However, a number of exceptions apply and any person involved in any way with the administration of justice are excluded including judges, Gardai, prison officers, barristers, solicitors, court officers.
You are disqualified from jury service if you have been convicted of a serious offence in Ireland; been imprisoned for five years or more or if you have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three months or more within the past 10 years.
You may also be excused from jury service for varying reasons, example: full-time students; those providing an important community service such as doctors, nurses.
The members of the jury who have been selected will individually swear an oath or affirm that they will properly try the issue and give a true verdict according to the evidence.
It is an offence to fail to attend for jury service without reasonable excuse. There is no payment for jury service. Travelling expenses are not allowed.