What is a jury?

A jury is responsible for hearing the evidence in a trial and then rendering a verdict. The presiding judge will provide the jury with instructions on how to apply the law when considering the evidence. A jury consists of twelve people in a criminal trial and seven people in a civil trial. Only the Supreme Court conducts jury trials.

Who can serve on a jury?

In Nova Scotia, you can be a juror if you are a Canadian citizen and 18 years of age or older. You cannot serve on a jury if:

~ you have been convicted of a crime and have 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 Department of Justice);
~ you are a Member of the House of Commons, the Senate, the provincial House of Assembly or the Lieutenant Governor; or
~ you are an officer or non-commissioned member of the reserve Armed Forces on active service or an officer or non-commissioned member of the regular Armed Forces or special Armed Forces.

 

May I be excused from serving?

Some reasons you may be
excused or deferred from
jury duty include:

Medical reasons
Illness
Financial hardship
Travel plans
70 years of age or older

If you are a doctor, dentist, or member of the clergy, you are not automatically exempt from jury duty, but you may apply to be excused.

The Jury Coordinator has the authority to excuse people without them having to appear for other reasons, including financial hardship or illness. The Jury Coordinator can also defer someone to the next jury selection date if it is determined there is a scheduling conflict, such as a planned vacation. If the Jury Coordinator does not excuse or defer someone as requested, then the Judge presiding over the jury selection process may also excuse a prospective juror for other reasons.

Why was I picked?

Your name was selected from the provincial Health Registration List. Every year, tens of thousands of names and addresses are randomly selected by a computer program and submitted to the Department of Justice. Only your name and address are provided - no other personal information is shared with the Courts.

If you receive a summons to appear for jury selection, it does not necessarily mean you will sit on a jury. It does mean that, by law, you must report for jury duty and take part in the selection process, unless you are excused by the Jury Coordinator or the presiding judge. During the selection process in Court, it will be up to the lawyers involved in the case to either accept or challenge you as a juror. This is done through peremptory challenges, a process that allows counsel to exclude jurors without giving a reason.

Jury Fees

If you are required to attend court for jury selection and you live more than 100 kilometres away, you will be paid 20 cents per kilometre to and from the courthouse.

If you are selected to sit on a jury, you will be paid $40.00 per day while serving and your parking will be reimbursed. You will also be paid 20 cents per kilometre to and from the courthouse.

Jury Duty Information & 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 >>

Do I have to serve?

Jury duty is governed by the JURIES ACT OF NOVA SCOTIA >> The Act states that:

Every person who
(a) is required to complete and return a juror information form and, without reasonable excuse, fails to do so;
(b) without reasonable excuse, gives false or misleading information in a juror information form or in an application to be excused from service as a juror;
(c) is summoned to attend and, without reasonable excuse, fails to obey the summons or fails to answer when called by the jury co-ordinator; or
(d) contravenes any other provision of this Act,
is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a penalty of not more than one thousand dollars.


I still have some questions...

If you have read all the available information and still have questions about the process, call the Jury Coordinator at the courthouse nearest you. His or her name and phone number is included on the Jury Summons. You can also call the courthouse nearest you. For contact information and maps for the Province's courthouses CLICK HERE >>

The information provided on this page and on the rest
of this website is not intended to constitute legal advice.
If you have legal questions, please consult with a lawyer.