Reasons to be excused from jury service

Courtney KimLegal System

Excused jury duty

While jury duty is an important citizen responsibility, there may be circumstances you cannot control which impact on your ability to serve. It is possible to apply to be excused from jury duty in such cases.

Applications should be sent a week prior to the summons date and you must obtain confirmation from the Office of the Sheriff before you can consider yourself officially excused.

You must have good cause to be excused for your application to be considered seriously. Here are some examples of reasons that demonstrate such good cause.

Conflict of interest

Your application will be considered if there is a conflict of interest or knowledge that may prevent you from being impartial in your judgement of the trial. For example, if you are acquainted with or have a close relation to either party in the trial you are summoned to, you may have reason to be excused.

Mental or physical impairment

If you have a mental or physical impairment impacts on your ability to serve on a jury, or it would injure your health for you to do so, you have good cause to be excused.

Your application will also be seriously considered if you would have difficultly serving on a jury panel due to a medical condition or disability. If you are applying for this reason, you should provide evidence, such as a current medical report or certificate with your diagnosis.

Serious inconvenience

If serving as a juror would cause undue hardship or a serious inconvenience to you, your family, or the public, you have good cause to be excused.

Working status

The nature of your job may provide good reason to be dismissed from jury duty. If you are in charge of your own business, such as a sole trader, the sheriff may approve your application. This will also be the case if you work as an emergency operational employee.

Absent

If you will be absent from NSW at the time of the trial, you can apply to be dismissed from your duty. You should provide travel documents which prove your absence, such as flight confirmations or tour bookings.

Education requirements

Being enrolled in education and having to attend classes or exams at the time of the trial will also count as reason to be excused from jury duty.

While jury duty is a legal responsibility, it is inevitable that some citizens will face barriers that make fulfilling this duty particularly inconvenient. In such cases, application to be excused is a possible avenue.