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.
There are 3 steps to jury selection. People who sit as jurors in a particular trial have gone through all 3 steps.
Juries are used in the NSW District Court and NSW Supreme Court to:
Juries are also used in coronial inquests in the NSW Coroners Court.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Juror Information Line: 1300 722 574
06 Mar 2023
We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which we work and we pay respect to the Elders, past, present and future.