Applying for an exemption from jury duty

There are some situations in which you can be exempted from serving as a juror for a criminal trial, but you must apply for an exemption by completing the form you receive with your summons.

All prospective jurors are entitled to apply for an exemption in the situations provided for by law, or if they believe that their specific situation makes jury duty impossible.

However, you must, as a prospective juror, present serious and reasonable grounds for the exemption, with supporting documents. After the application has been examined, you may or may not be granted an exemption.

You must also complete the form if:

  • you are disqualified , in other words if you are disqualified from acting as a juror because of your status or function;
  • you want to apply for a postponement of jury duty.

Grounds for exemption

You may be granted an exemption if:

  • you, or your spouse, is 65 years of age or over;
  • you have a physical or sensory disability;
  • you have serious health problems;
  • you have too many family responsibilities;
  • you have served as a juror, or been retained for jury duty, in the last five years.

You may also be exempted if you are:

  • a minister of the cult;
  • a member of the Canadian regular forces;
  • a member of the personnel of the National Assembly of Québec;
  • a functionary engaged in the administration of justice, or the spouse of such a functionary.

Other possible grounds for exemption, after examination

You may also be exempted if you present serious and reasonable grounds for exemption.

To facilitate the examination of your situation, you should describe it in detail on the application form and present supporting documents.

Disqualification from jury duty

You are disqualified from jury duty if:

  • you are not a Canadian citizen;
  • you are not of full age (18 or over);
  • you are not registered on the list of electors;
  • you do not speak French or English fluently, with some exceptions;
  • you are afflicted with a mental illness of deficiency;
  • you have been charged with or convicted of a criminal act.

You are also disqualified if you are:

  • a judge;
  • a coroner;
  • a practising advocate or notary;
  • a peace officer;
  • a firefighter;
  • a member of:

    • the National Assembly of Québec,
    • the House of Commons of Canada,
    • the Conseil exécutif,
    • the Privy Council,
    • the Senate.

If you are disqualified, you must make this known by completing the application for exemption form.

You cannot be a juror if your spouse:

  • holds one of the positions listed above, except as a firefighter;
  • has been charged with or convicted of a criminal act.

Application

To apply for an exemption your must:

  • complete the form Application for exemption or disqualification from jury duty or for postponement of jury duty to a later session which you received with your summons;
  • swear an oath before, for example, a commissioner for oaths, a notary, a lawyer or a court clerk;
  • include supporting documents with your application (for example, a doctor's certificate, a photocopy of an airline ticket);
  • mail your completed application to the sheriff.

Deadline

In general, prospective jurors have 20 days to file their application for exemption.

However, in some cases the deadline is less than 20 days. You must pay attention to the deadline stated in the letter from the sheriff.

Processing time

All applications for exemption will be processed rapidly.

Rejected or unanswered application

If your application for exemption is rejected, or has not been answered by jury selection day, you must attend the jury selection.

At the jury selection, you will have another opportunity to ask the judge for an exemption.

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