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Question 16 Question 17 A jury is a group of people who apply the law, as stated by the judge, to the facts of a case andrender a decision. A jury consists of 12 people (criminal jury) or 7 people (civil jury) who are selected to hear the evidence in a trial.

Serving on a jury is an important civic duty. However, you can be excused if you have a good reason. Failing to respond to a summons to attend for jury selection or failing to attend for jury selection can result in a fine of up to $1,000.

Jury duty is governed by the Juries Act of Nova Scotia

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Some Frequently Asked Questions

Question 17 Question 18 Who can be a juror?

In Nova Scotia, anyone can be a juror if they are a Canadian citizen and 18 years or older UNLESS:

  • You have been convicted of a crime and been sentenced to two or more years in prison;
  • You have attended or are attending a law school;
  • You work in the administration of justice (for example, a police officer or an employee of the provincial or federal departments of Justice)
  • You are a Member of the House of Commons, the Senate, the House of Assembly or the Lieutenant Governor
  • You are an officer or non-commissioned member of the reserve Armed Forces on active service or an officer and non-commissioned member of the regular Armed Forces and special Armed Forces.

Where do we get the names for jury duty?

The Department of Health provides us with information from their Health Registration List. We only be getting names and addresses, and have no access to health information. This information ensures we have the most accurate and up-to-date information to summons potential jurors. We treat this type of information in a confidential manner.

Why was I picked?

Your name was selected at random from names taken from the Health Registration List. Every year in Nova Scotia, approximately 25,000 names are selected. Being selected means that you have to report for jury duty- it does not mean that you will necessarily sit on a jury.

I don't know anything about law or about sitting on a jury!

That's fine. If you are chosen to sit on a jury, the judge will give you information about what will happen next and what you need to know. 

Do I have to serve?

To ask to be excused from jury duty, you must fill out the "Application to be Excused From Jury Duty." This form is included in the package of documents you received. The Jury Coordinator can excuse you from jury duty if serving on a jury will cause you hardship, or if you are ill. If you are asking to be excused because you are ill, you must also send in a Medical Certificate filled out by your doctor, unless you are aged 70 years or older. This form is also included in your package.

If serving on a jury is inconvenient now, but you could serve in the near future, the Jury Coordinator may defer you to the next jury session. This means that you will have to serve in the next month or so.

If the Jury Coordinator does not excuse you or defer you to a later date, he or she will forward your application to a judge to review. The judge may excuse you on the basis of hardship, illness or inconvenience. 

The Jury Coordinator will contact you by telephone to let you know if your application has been approved or denied.

If you are not excused from jury duty, you must go to court.

 

Some reasons why you may be excused or deferred:

Medical reasons
Illness
Financial hardship
Serious inconvenience
Travel plans
Over 69 years of age

Asking to be excused/deferred

The Jury Coordinator has increased authority to excuse people, without them having to appear, on the basis of hardship or illness. The Jury Coordinator can also defer someone to the next jury panel on the basis of inconvenience.

If the Jury Coordinator does not excuse or defer someone as requested, then the file is automatically forwarded to a judge to review.

 

I've got the Jury Summons - now what do I do?

  1. First, read everything in the package carefully. It is important that you understand what you need to do and when.

  2. Second, fill out the Juror Information Form and send it in.

  3. Third, make a note of the date and time you have to go to court.

  4. Finally, keep the phone number to call about jury information in a safe place. And call that number before you go to court.

Jury Duty Information
And Forms Package

The information sheets and forms linked-to below are sent to prospective jurors who are summoned to attend for jury selection.

Instructions For People Who Receive a Summons
Notice For People Who Receive a Summons
Frequently Asked Questions
Acts And Regulations Governing Jury Duty
An Example Of The Summons
Application Form For Request To Be Excused
Certificate Needed For Medical Exemption

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What happens if I do not fill out the forms and return them or if I do not show up for jury duty without being excused?

Remember, jury duty is responsibility that must be taken seriously. If you do not send in the Juror Information Form, or if you do not show up for jury duty without being excused, you may be arrested and fined up to $1000.

 

Does my employer have to give me time off to appear for jury duty?

Yes. You are entitled to unpaid leave to attend for jury duty. Some employers pay their employees regular wages while attending court for jury duty, so you should check with your employer.

 

I am receiving Employment Insurance benefits. How will attending for jury duty affect my benefits?

Attending court for jury duty will not affect your benefits.

 

Fees paid to Jurors

To each potential juror who attends for jury selection:
$0.20/km both ways if they live more than 100km away

To each juror selected to sit on a jury:
$40.00/day
$0.20/km both ways

 

Jury Districts

Potential jurors are drawn from specific geographic regions. The boundaries for these areas have been redrawn and now consist of the following:
1. Victoria and Cape Breton Counties
2. Inverness County
3. Richmond County
4. Antigonish and Guysborough Counties
5. Pictou County
6. Halifax Regional Municipality
7. Colchester County
8. Cumberland County
9. Kings and Hants Counties
10. Annapolis County
11. Digby County
12. Lunenburg and Queens Counties
13. Shelburne County
14. Yarmouth County

 

I still have questions - who can I ask for more information?

Call the Jury Coordinator for your court. His or her name and phone number is on the Juror Summons.

 

See model jury instructions for criminal trials prepared by the
Canadian Judicial Council >>

 

The information on the Courts of Nova Scotia web site is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. If you have legal questions, please consult with a lawyer.

 

For information on a specific court click on the appropriate link at the top of this page.