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Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Tuesday 15 November 2016


Halt the ballroom dancing. Come 1 December 2016 the age limit for jury service is being raised from 70 to 75. You may make it on to a jury for a criminal trial, a coroner's inquest or a civil trial in the High Court or county court. Juries in civil cases, though, are now rare. They once prevailed in libel and slander cases where they often awarded crazy damages which went through the court roof so they've been almost eliminated there. They are occasionally allowed in claims for damages for false imprisonment or malicious prosecution against the police and where there is an allegation of fraud in civil proceedings.

You gets your travelling expenses. 31.4 per mile by car or motor bike but if I am selected - judges and former judges aren't exempt - I'll borrow a  pedal bike and collect 9.6 p per mile. If you do the same, don't pedal too hard as jury box perspiration is obnoxious and don't fall asleep either or you're likely to be thrown off the jury. Should you be lucky enough to still be in  job which pays, any loss of earnings will be reimbursed but with a cap - for example, £64.95 per day so long as you have been at it for at least four hours but the cap rises to £228.06 after 201 days. Calm down, you are likely to be released much earlier than that and, if it is going to be a long trial, you may have to suggest they take out a life assurance policy on you!

Should you fancy a spot of jury service, I wouldn't write in and ask to be considered. They may think that's too keen for comfort. Just wait for the jury summons to arrive and, in the meantime, you can practice the oath.

In a criminal trial- "I swear by ....(according to religious beliefs) that I will faithfully try the defendant and give a true verdict according to the evidence."

And in a civil case - "I swear by..... (according to religious beliefs) that I will well and truly try the issues between the parties and a true verdict give according to the evidence."

Now that was very good. Can you start next month?