Monday, October 13, 2008

Jury Duty

Last month I had to attend jury duty. The thing with jury duty is that you sit around in a lounge area with over 100 other potential jurors in the rather nice county court until they draw a jury pool for a trial. It's quite boring, but stressful not having any idea what is happening. On the first draw of 30 people they got to 27 before drawing my name at 28. As luck would have it (or not) I went all the way and got to sit on a trial jury. In hindsight that was lucky, because the trial I was assigned to was rather short. The others starting that day going for longer, one much longer.

The formalities and processes of the court are fascinating. Not at all like Boston Legal (or anyother american TV show) though, which is a good thing. In fact the first thing they tell you is to forget everything you've seen on TV. The one thing about the court that stood out for me was that the way the judge and barristers spoke was extremely formal and precise. There no mistaking the meaning of what they were saying.

The jury is looked after by a person known as the judge's tipstaff, or "tippy". They are not allowed to know anything of the deliberations, but look after the practicalities. While court is in session out tippy was seen to be doing crossword and sudoku puzzles, as well as looking after the items of evidence when necessary.

Due to confidentiality I can't reveal anything about the case. In fact I'm not sure what I'm allowed to say, so it's best not to say anything.

At the end of it you get a cheque for your service ($36 a day up to 5 days, with a higher rate after 5 days) and an exemption from jury service for 3 years. That payment is not as bad as it seems as your employer is required to make up the difference between the jury payment and what you could reasonably expect to be paid for the days work you miss.

As I said it was and interesting few days.

4 comments:

RVB said...

Did they serve muffins?

Ben said...

No they didn't. If they had? Well, who knows what might have happened...

RVB said...

You could have indulged in all sorts of sensual fantasies...

Anonymous said...

Hi ben, i'm not sure how to get in contact with you but i wanted to ask you to help me with something random. please email me straight away if you would like to help!

benneedshelpnow@gmail.com