Apply to be excused from jury service
You can ask to be excused from jury service for various reasons, including the kind of work you do, personal circumstances or because you are away from the state.
Reasons for being excused
In terms of the Jury Amendment Act 2010, you may have 'good cause' to be excused if:
- jury service would cause undue hardship or serious inconvenience to you, your family or the public
- you have a disability that makes you unsuitable or incapable of effectively serving as a juror, without reasonable accommodation
- there is a conflict of interest or some other knowledge, acquaintance or friendship that you have which may result in your being perceived as lacking impartiality as a juror
- people who have a permanent mental or physical impairment that makes them incapable of doing jury service or that would injure their health if they did jury service
The sheriff may also consider excusing you in other circumstances, including if:
- you are a sole trader or contractor
- you have care of school aged children and are unable to make alternate care arrangements
- you are in an advanced stage of pregnancy and/or are having medical difficulties during your pregnancy (medical certificate required)
- you have a medical condition which would make jury service difficult
- you are an emergency service operational employee
- you are enrolled in education and need to attend lectures or exams; or are living outside your jury district to undertake studies
- you have a mental or physical impairment
- you are absent from New South Wales
- you have transport difficulties, such as unsuitable or unavailable public transport.
- you are unable to read and understand English (Please provide a Language Statutory Declaration)
How to apply to be excused
To apply to be excused log onto juror.nsw.gov.au. You can also email or fax your application to the address provided in your summons. Attach supporting documents. These could include:
- a current medical certificate or report, with a diagnosis (which will be kept confidential)
- a carers card or if not identified as a legal carer, a letter from a medical practitioner
- confirmation of overseas flights, hotel or tour bookings.
Ensure you apply at least a week prior to the summons date.
The Office of the Sheriff takes all applications seriously, and understands that serving on a jury is an interruption and possibly an inconvenience in your daily life.
You need to get confirmation from the Office of the Sheriff that you have been excused. Please do not assume you have been excused if you do not receive this confirmation.
If you have not received a letter, please log on to juror.nsw.gov.au using your juror number and date of birth, to find out the status of your application, or call the Jury Information Line on 1300 722 574.
Applying to be excused at court
It is important that you apply before your summons date, to prevent further inconvenience to you and the court.
However, you can apply to be excused the day that you report for jury service at court. There are two types of official to whom you can make the request the day you report for jury service.
- You may present the reasons for why you should be excused to the sheriff's staff member while you are still in the jury assembly area. Your reasons will be considered. Bring any supporting documents, such as letters from your employer or doctor.
- You can also make a request to be excused to the judge or coroner when you are called into court. If your reasons relate to your health or would cause you "embarrassment or distress if made public" you can make a written application and ask for it to be handed to the judge.
An example of a confidential reason could be that you were a victim of sexual assault who has been asked to serve on a jury panel in a similar case. Another example is that you may need to go for surgery or other medical treatment that you do not wish to disclose to anyone other than the judge or coroner.
You should raise your concerns when invited by the judge and before being empanelled.
In cases where jurors are unable to complete the trial, a new trial may have to be called, which can be very costly to participants and taxpayers.
If you come to court willing to serve on a jury, but are not selected as a juror, you will be exempted from further jury service for 12 months.
What happens if you provide false information?
If you provide false or misleading information in your application to be excused, you may be fined up to $5500.
Can you be called up for jury service again?
Although you may be excused from attending this time, you could receive another summons for a later date. This could happen several times in the year that you are on the jury roll.