Communities and Justice

About jury service

Jury service plays an important role in our justice system. Juries are used to ensure that legal verdicts are impartial and in line with community standards of behaviour. Serving as a juror is an interesting and rewarding experience which offers insights into the court process.

How is a jury selected?

There are 3 steps to jury selection. People who sit as jurors in a particular trial have gone through all 3 steps.

  • Inclusion on the jury roll. Notices of Inclusion are sent out to tell people they are on the jury roll. This is a list of people who could be selected for jury service in the next 12 months.
    See Sent a Notice of Inclusion?
  • Summons to jury service. People who have been sent a Notice of Inclusion may be sent a Jury Summons requiring them to report to court on a particular day for jury service.
    See Summoned for jury service?
  • Jury selection and empanelling. At court, people who have been summoned are randomly selected and may then be empanelled to serve on a jury in a particular trial.
    See How a jury is selected.

The role of a jury

Juries are used in the NSW District Court and NSW Supreme Court to:

  • hear and determine more serious criminal matters
  • hear and determine civil matters involving large monetary claims

Juries are also used in coronial inquests in the NSW Coroners Court.

Criminal trials

In criminal trials, a jury hears evidence, applies the law as directed by the judge, and decides if a person is guilty or not guilty of a crime, based on the facts. A jury does not participate in the sentencing process.

In most criminal trials, 12 people are selected to be on the jury. Up to 15 jurors can be empanelled if a trial is expected to last longer than three months. To be empanelled means to be chosen for a specific trial.

Find out: Who's who in court, in a criminal trial by jury

Civil trials

Civil trials that require juries are usually defamation proceedings. The trial judge will outline the issues the jury needs to consider to decide who is at fault. A civil trial jury is typically comprised of 4 jurors, however, in the Supreme Court, 12 jurors may be ordered.

Who administers jury service? 

The jury system in NSW is administered by the Jury Services Branch of the Office of the Sheriff of New South Wales, operating in accordance with the Jury Act 1977 and Jury Amendment Act 2010.   

How many people serve each year?

Each year, the names of around 200,000 potential jurors are randomly selected from the NSW Electoral Roll and included on a jury roll (list).

Approximately 150,000 people on the roll are sent a jury summons notice at some point in the year. This notice requires them to come to court, where they may be selected as a juror for a specific trial. Out of these, just 9,000 people a year are selected to serve on jury panels for specific trials. They are then empanelled as jurors.

Samples of jury service letters

These are samples of the jury service letters you may receive. They show what the letter will look like and the section on the back page where you can make an application if required.

Jury Statutory Declarations

Contact us

Juror Information Line: 1300 722 574


Further information

Watch welcome to jury service video

Welcome to jury service - with English subtitles
Last updated:

06 Mar 2023

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