Introduction to this document

Request to apply for jury service deferral

You can use our letter to request an employee who has been summoned for jury service to apply to the court for either deferral of that jury service or to be totally excused from it.

Juries Act 1974

Under the Juries Act 1974, individuals may be required to carry out jury service if they’re at least 18 years old and not over the age of 75 on the day they start their jury service, are registered on a parliamentary or local government electoral roll and have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for any period of at least five years since they were 13 years old. Names are randomly selected by the Jury Central Summoning Bureau from an electronic copy of the electoral register.

Deferral or excusal applications

An employee has seven days from their receipt of the Jury Summons in which to submit a “Reply to the Jury Summons” form; they can be fined £1,000 if they don’t return this form. The normal expectation is that they will serve at the time for which they’re summoned. However, when they submit this form, they can apply for their jury service to be deferred to a later date, e.g. if they’re going to be on a pre-booked holiday or in hospital at the relevant time, or they can ask to be excused from jury service altogether. Deferral or excusal can also be applied for by the employee where the jury service would conflict with work commitments, but only where their absence would be likely to cause substantial harm to your business, and this is where our Request to Apply for Jury Service Deferral letter comes in. It requests the employee to apply for either deferral or excusal and sets out the reasons why you want them to apply. You can delete or amend these reasons as appropriate.

Letter in support

Although you can’t apply for deferral or excusal on the employee’s behalf, you can and should write a letter in support of their application for them to submit with it, i.e. explaining how their absence is likely to cause substantial harm to your business - see our Deferral of Jury Service Letter.

Granting of applications

Jury service can only be deferred for up to twelve months and it can only be deferred once. Where your employee applies for deferral, they’ll also need to state all other dates during the next twelve months when they won’t be available for jury service, so that it can be rearranged to a more convenient date. Therefore, if there are other dates you need them to avoid, discuss this with them before they complete the form. The employee will only be excused from jury service if either they can’t serve at any time during the following twelve months, or they’ve already undertaken jury service within the previous two years. In practice, where the employee is applying on work-related grounds, deferral is much more likely to be granted than excusal, as excusal applications will only be considered for exceptional circumstances. However, there’s still no guarantee that a deferral application will be granted.

Document

Request to apply for jury service deferral

UPDATED11 Jan 2022
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