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Can I be called for jury duty?

Any person who is on the New South Wales electoral roll can be selected at random and added to the jury roll. If this happens to you, you will...

Zoe Whetham

Any person who is on the New South Wales electoral roll can be selected at random and added to the jury roll. If this happens to you, you will receive a notice informing you of this.

If you do not claim an exclusion or exemption from jury duty, you may then be summoned at a later date to attend court for jury duty.

A person who fails to attend court for jury duty is liable to a criminal penalty.

So how do you know if you are liable to be a juror?

Persons who cannot be jurors

You cannot be a juror if:

  • You have been found guilty or convicted of certain serious offences;
  • You are a judicial officer, member of NSW parliament, governor, or ombudsman; or
  • You are qualified as an Australian lawyer.

You also cannot be a juror for certain periods of time if:

  • You are serving or have recently served a sentence of imprisonment;
  • You are subject to certain court orders including AVOs, community correction orders and conditional release orders;
  • You are engaged in certain occupations involving law enforcement or criminal investigation, such as the police force or any government commissions; or
  • You have direct access to inmates as a result of your work.

This is not an exhaustive list and there are many specific rules relating to the above exclusions from jury service.

Persons who may be permanently exempted from jury duty

You are entitled to be permanently exempted if you:

  • Are a member of the clergy or a vowed member of any religious order;
  • Are practising as a dentist, pharmacist or medical practitioner;
  • Are employed in the provision of emergency services, fire, ambulance or rescue;
  • Have served as a juror in the preceding three years or attended court and were prepared to serve as a juror in the previous year;
  • Have already been exempted because of previous lengthy service as a juror; or
  • Are the full-time carer of a sick, infirm or disabled person.

You can also request to be exempted permanently on the basis of a permanent mental or physical impairment.

Persons who may be temporarily exempted or excused

You may also be exempted for the period during which they may be summoned or excused from attending court by showing “good cause”. This includes if:

  1. Jury duty would cause undue hardship or serious inconvenience to you, your family or the public;
  2. You have a disability making you unsuitable for jury duty;
  3. There is a conflict of interest that may create a perception of impartiality; or
  4. There is some other reason that would affect your ability to be a juror.

Additionally, before a trial, jurors who feel that they could not be impartial are always called on to apply to excused.

If you are excused or exempted from jury duty for a period of time, this does not mean you are exempted from jury duty altogether. You will remain on the jury roll and can be summoned again in future.

You can also apply for your jury duty to be deferred to a later time.