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Topic: Time off and holidays

deferral of jury service letter
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Deferral of jury service letter

Deferral of jury service letter

You can use our deferral of jury service letter to write to the court in support of an employee’s application for deferral of jury service, or to be excused from jury service, where the reasons for the application are work-related. However, it’s the employee who must make the actual application and there’s no guarantee it will be granted.

Juries Act 1974

Under the Juries Act 1974, individuals may be required to carry out jury service if they are 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, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for at least five consecutive years since they were aged 13. Certain people are disqualified from serving on a jury, including those who are on bail in criminal proceedings and those with certain mental disorders. Names are randomly selected by the Jury Central Summoning Bureau from an electronic copy of the electoral register. So, someone could be selected for jury service several times in their lifetime but another person may never be selected.

Excusal and deferral

Individuals can apply to the court to be either excused from jury service or to have their jury service deferred to a later date. However, they will only be excused from jury service if either they cannot serve at any time during the following twelve months or they have already undertaken jury service within the previous two years. As for deferral, jury service can only be deferred for up to twelve months and it can only be deferred once. When applying for deferral, your employee will be expected to provide details of all other dates in the next year when they will not be able to serve, so that the Jury Central Summoning Bureau can defer their jury service to a convenient date. A request for excusal or deferral can be on the grounds that the employee’s absence would be likely to cause substantial harm to your business. However, note that only the employee can apply for excusal or deferral. You cannot apply on your employee’s behalf but you are permitted to write a letter in support of the employee’s application, to be submitted with it. This is where our Deferral of Jury Service Letter comes in. Do provide as much information as possible to “pad out” our suggested reasons in support of the employee’s application. If your employee applies for excusal from jury service on the ground of work commitments, it’s likely they will be offered deferral in the first instance because excusal will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Jury service

If your employee isn’t excused from jury service or doesn’t get it deferred, you should release them from work in accordance with the court summons. Whilst there’s no specific statutory duty requiring you to grant an employee summoned for jury service time off work, in practice you must do so because a refusal to grant time off for jury service may constitute a contempt of court and you may be putting your employee in contempt too. It’s also automatically unfair to dismiss an employee or to subject them to a detriment because they’ve been summoned for jury service.


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