If you are selected as a juror on a trial, the judge and their staff will tell you everything you need to know about the trial and your role as a juror.
What you need to do
- Attend every day the trial sits for
- Listen carefully to and follow the instructions of the judge and their staff
- Pay attention to all the evidence
- Keep an open mind throughout the entire trial
While a member of the judge's staff will give you all the information you need to know, here's some of the more common queries and concerns people have about serving as a juror.
Court hours and sitting days
The courts do not sit on weekends or public holidays, and you will therefore not be required to attend court on those days. Unless otherwise directed by the judge, you will however be required to attend every business days until the trial is concluded.
If selected as a juror, you will typically be required to attend each day from 10am until 4.30pm. However, the judge may vary the start and finish times, and will notify you accordingly.
Running late or sick
You must attend on time every day the trial is sitting.
On your first day as a juror, the judge's staff will give you a business card with a number to call if you are running late, are sick, or cannot attend for any reason. In these instances, please call that number as soon as possible to let us know.
If calling after hours, please leave a message with your full name, juror number, the judge and/or courtroom of the trial you are on, and the details of why you are unable to attend. We will call you back as soon as possible to discuss your circumstances further.
Failing to attend can incur a fine of over $9,000 or imprisonment for 6 months, so it is vital you inform us if you are running late or unable to attend your trial as soon as possible to avoid the possibility of penalties.
Under the Juries Act 2000 (Vic), your employer is legally obligated to release you for jury service. They are also prohibited from threatening, firing, or otherwise prejudicing your employment because of jury service.
Your employer is also legally obligated to pay you the difference between your juror payments and what you would reasonably have expected to have earned had you attended work instead of jury service. This includes any penalties, allowances, or loadings you would have reasonably expected to have received in that time.
Your employer is also prevented from deducting any time required for jury service from your leave entitlements, such as sick leave and annual leave.
These obligations supersede the Fair Work Act 2009 and all enterprise bargaining agreements and employment contracts. Substantial penalties apply to any employer who breaches these obligations.
More information on employer obligations can be found here.
If the jury you served on returned a guilty verdict, the accused will be sentenced at a later date. Sentencing details are usually available 4-6 weeks after the trial.
If you wish to find out further information on the sentence imposed in the trial you served on, you can contact the number provided on your Certificate of Attendance and quote the Case Number listed on the same form.
Juror Support Program
While most people find jury service to be a fulfilling experience, it is understandable and normal some people may need to take some time to process it.
For this reason, Juries Victoria offers a free, confidential counselling service called the Juror Support Program.
More information on the program can be found here.
Being contacted while a juror
While you are serving as a juror, you will not be able to have your phone or other device on you.
In the event your family needs to contact you, they can ring Juries Victoria. If the issue is a genuine emergency, we will pass a message to you as soon as possible. Otherwise, we will advise the caller to contact you outside of court hours.
Going home each night
Jurors serving on a trial get to go home each night.
The only exception is when a judge decides the jury must be kept together during the deliberation process -that is, while reaching a verdict. This is known as sequestering, and occurs very rarely. However, if required, you will be given plenty of notice.