Paragraphs 2, 3, 14 and 15
879.These provisions have the effect of removing the status of “ineligibility” for jury service, and entitlement to “excusal as of right” from jury service, from a number of people; they will, as a result, in future be regarded in all cases as potential jurors. Under the Juries Act 1974, as it currently stands, the judiciary, others concerned with the administration of justice, and the clergy, are “ineligible” for jury service and therefore barred from serving as jurors. That bar will be lifted. Others, including people over 65, members of parliament, medical professionals and members of certain religious bodies, are currently entitled to refuse to serve as jurors. That entitlement will be removed. If any person affected by these changes does not wish to serve as a juror, he or she will now be required to apply for excusal or deferral under section 9 or 9A of the 1974 Act, showing “good reason” why he or she should not serve as summoned.
880.Paragraph 2 of Schedule 33 replaces section 1 of the Juries Act 1974 with a new version, removing the status of ineligibility for jury service currently in section 1 of the 1974 Act, with a saving for mentally disordered persons only. Paragraph 15 substitutes a new version of Schedule 1 to the 1974 Act, and correspondingly removes the first three groups of persons ineligible (the judiciary, others concerned with the administration of justice, and the clergy), leaving only mentally disordered persons with that status. Paragraph 14 of Schedule 33 makes consequential provision to remove references to these groups of ineligible people in the context of the jury summoning offences in section 20 of the Juries Act 1974.
881.Paragraph 15 also replaces the categories of those who are disqualified from jury service with a new list for Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Juries Act 1974. These are people who have served, or are serving, prison sentences or community orders of varying degrees of seriousness. The period of time during which they are to be disqualified varies accordingly. A number of amendments have been made to Part 2 to reflect recent and forthcoming developments in sentencing legislation. Juveniles sentenced under section 91 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 to detention for life, or for a term of five years or more, will be disqualified for life from jury service. People sentenced to imprisonment or detention for public protection, or to an extended sentence under section 227 or 228 of the Act are to be disqualified for life from jury service. Anyone who has received a community order (as defined in section 177 of the Act) will be disqualified from jury service for ten years.
882.Paragraph 3 of Schedule 32 repeals section 9(1) of the Juries Act 1974. This subsection provided that certain groups of people listed in Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the 1974 Act should be “excused as of right” from jury service: that is, they were entitled to refuse to do jury service if they so wish. These groups include people over 65 years of age, members of parliament, members of medical and similar professions, people with religious objections to doing jury service, and (in specified circumstances) members of the armed forces. No one will in future be entitled to excusal as of right from jury service, as is currently provided. Part 3 has been omitted from the substituted Schedule 1 in paragraph 15.