If you have received a summons for jury service, but are struggling to spare the time because of coursework deadlines, you may be able to apply to be excused.
Why/ how have I been picked for jury service?
Jurors are selected at random from the electoral register so basically, your name just came out of the hat! Some people are called several times during their lives, while others don’t get called at all.
I thought students were exempt?
Students are not automatically exempt from jury service, but you can ask to be excused.
How do I ask to be excused?
Section 3 question C of the summons for jury service has space for you to put your reasons for your request. Fill this in to say that you are a student, and ask Registry to stamp the form to confirm this. Then return the form to the address indicated on the summons.
It is a good idea when asking to be excused to give any other supporting information e.g. medical circumstances, approaching exams or deadlines, or final year pressures, and to include evidence of this such as a letter from your GP or Adviser of Studies.
Will I definitely be excused?
No. Excusal is discretionary, but you can appeal if your request is refused.
I’d quite like to do jury duty, but can’t do it now. Will I get another chance?
If you want to delay your jury service rather than be excused, you can ask for a deferral.
Jury service can be deferred once, for up to a maximum of 12 months from the original date. For example, if you had a holiday booked and paid for, you could ask for it to be deferred until you returned; or a student summoned for jury service could ask for it to be deferred until after the exams.
If you are asking for deferral, you should provide all the dates for the next 12 months when you would be unavailable for jury service.
As with being excused, deferral is discretionary, but there is a right of appeal against refusal.
How long would it last?
It is of course very difficult to know this! However, advance written notice should be given for trials expected to last more than 1 week.
I have other questions, where can I find out more?
There is information on jury service on the Scotcourts website:
Coming to Court – Jurors
Alternatively, contact the Advice Centre for more information.