Absentee Jurors Face Possible Fines

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

Instructions Sent Along With Summons
Notice Sent Along With Summons
Frequently Asked Questions
Summary of Jury Duty Laws
An Example Of The Summons
Form For Request To Be Excused
Certificate For Medical Exemption

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Jury Duty is governed by the
Juries Act of Nova Scotia

“The problem with this country, regularly,” said Chief Kennedy, “is that Canadians don’t deserve it. We’ve had an example of that today. Ninety-five people today did not show up for jury duty ... 95 .... forty percent."

He referred to two recent hearings at which two other Justices of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court ordered absentee jurors to appear before them and imposed fines ranging from $50 to $200. “But apparently, $200 in this day and age doesn’t do it” said Chief Kennedy.

“There is a reason for juries, for jury trials.(The) opportunity to be tried by a jury of one’s peers is central to this democracy, to this country”, he said.

“Either we’re going to do away with jury trials or we’re going to do something about no-shows. And we are not going to do away with jury trials.”

He told the Sheriffs, “ .... when you contact them, ask them to bring their toothbrushes ...”

Some reasons prospective jurors may be excused or deferred:
Medical reasons
Financial hardship
Serious inconvenience
Travel plans
Over 69 years of age

The Sheriffs’ department will now find and serve the absentee jurors with a summons to appear before Chief Kennedy at a later date. At that hearing, they will be asked to explain why they did not show up for jury seleciton.

According to section 24-2-c of Nova Scotia’s Juries Act;Every person who is summoned to attend and, without reasonable excuse, fails to obey the summons or fails to answer when called by the jury co-ordinator is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a penalty of not more than one thousand dollars.