Frequently asked questions

How was I selected for jury service?

The court makes a list of people to summon for jury service by randomly selecting people registered on the electoral roll and who live within 45 kilometres of a court. All registered voters are eligible for jury service, with some exceptions.

Who can’t be a juror?

Some people can’t serve on a jury. They include:

  • a person with an intellectual disability
  • a Member of Parliament
  • the Governor-General
  • a judge, community magistrate or visiting justice
  • a member of the Parole Board
  • a barrister or solicitor with a current practising certificate
  • a Justice of the Peace who hears cases in the District Court
  • employees of the following organisations:
    • Department of Corrections
    • New Zealand Police
    • Ministry of Justice.

People who have been sentenced to imprisonment for life or three years or more, or to preventive detention, cannot serve on a jury.

People who, within the last five years, have been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of three months or more or to home detention for three months or more cannot serve either.

If one of the above applies to you, please identify this on your summons response form.

Can I be permanently excused from jury service?

If you’re aged 65 or over, permanently disabled or have a chronic illness, you can request to be permanently excused when you respond to your jury summons.

The court will send you a letter of permanent excusal.

Can I be excused on the day?

If you’re unwell or have an emergency on the day that means you can’t attend jury service, make sure you contact the court in the morning to let them know by calling 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787). If you can’t contact them yourself, ask someone you know to contact them on your behalf.

If at this point you need to be excused for any reason that’s not related to your health or an emergency (for example: if your request for excusal or deferral has been declined; or you need to be excused because of language difficulties; or because of your knowledge of someone involved with the case, or your personal experiences, you consider that you could not be fair and impartial) you should indicate to court staff that you have an issue that may stop you from being a juror and you should ask to speak to the Judge. The Judge will then decide whether you will be excused.

I’ve done jury service in the last two years. Why have I been summoned again?

People are randomly summoned from the electoral roll and can be summoned at any time.

If you’ve received a summons but have served on a jury within the last two years, let the court know on your juror summons letter and you can be excused if you wish.

I’m over the age of 65. Why have I been summoned?

If you’re enrolled to vote, you’re still eligible to be summoned for jury service.

When you respond to your summons, you can ask to be excused because you’re aged 65 or over. You don’t need to supply any supporting documentation.

You can ask to be excused for a single instance (that is, you would like the option of attending jury service at a later date) or permanently (you would like to be permanently excused from jury service any time you are summoned in future).

You’re not obliged to seek permanent excusal from jury service because you’re aged 65 or over. If you would like to attend jury service, please do so. Your contribution to the New Zealand justice system and the community is valued and appreciated.

How do I respond to a jury summons on someone else’s behalf?

You can respond to a jury summons on another person’s behalf if the summoned person is aged 65 or over, has a physical or intellectual disability, has ongoing health issues (like a chronic illness), or is deceased.

If you’re requesting that the person be permanently excused, and the person is under the age of 65, you’ll need to include supporting documentation with the response form. This documentation may include a:

  • medical certificate
  • support letter from ACC or other agency
  • letter from a caregiver
  • photocopy of a hospital or doctor’s appointment
  • photocopy of a death certificate

How do I prove my attendance at jury service to my employer?

You can request a letter of attendance from the court.

My employer is still paying me while I do jury service. Can the court pay my jury service fee directly to my employer?

No, the fee for attending jury service must be paid to you.

How can I show my employer proof of payment for jury service?

You can request an itemised breakdown (a remittance advice) of the court’s payment to you. The court can only send this to you; if your employer wants to see it, you’ll need to give it to them.

To get an itemised breakdown of your jury service payment, email the court you attended for jury service.

How long will I be needed for?

The amount of time you may be needed may be specified in your summons letter.

You may be chosen to be a juror the morning you arrive at court, later in the week or not at all. If you’re on the jury for a case that lasts longer than a week, you must attend until the trial ends or the court discharges you.

What if English isn’t my first language?

Phone 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, or email the address in your summons letter.

To check whether you’re needed for jury service the next day, call the phone number on your summons, or you can find the number here (this link will display the ‘Contact Us’ Ministry of Justice external website.