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Jury duty involves acting as a juror at a trial, which is both a civic duty and a significant responsibility.
Jury duty involves various rights and obligations. As a prospective juror or juror, you are entitled to receive indemnities and allowances, which are established and paid according to the applicable tariff.
When you receive a summons as a prospective juror, you must comply. If you do not attend the jury selection, you may be charged with an offence, or a warrant may be issued to force you attend court.
Following the jury selection, if you have been selected to act as a juror at a trial, the court or the relevant staff member at the clerk's office will explain your role and obligations.
Qualification for jury duty
The names of prospective jurors are taken at random from the list of electors.
You become a juror after being selected at the jury selection. However, your name may be rejected is you are disqualified from jury duty. On certain conditions, you can also apply for an exemption from or postponement of your jury duty.
Indemnities and allowances paid to prospective jurors and jurors
As a prospective juror or juror, you are entitled to receive an allowance to cover your travel, meal and accommodation costs.
|Means of transportation||Allowance|
|Public transit||Reimbursement of a round-trip ticket|
|Automobile||Allowance of $0.445 per kilometre travelled|
Reimbursement of cost of parking
You can claim for the cost of your meals up to an amount of:
- $10.40 for breakfast;
- $14.30 for lunch;
- $21.55 for dinner.
The amounts include taxes and tips.
You can receive an allowance for your accommodation.
|Type of accommodation||Allowance|
|Hotel||$83 to $138 per night|
|Motel or other accommodation||$79|
You will have to present supporting documents.
Other allowances and indemnity
In addition to the allowances described above, jurors are entitled to receive a daily indemnity and an allowance for childcare and for psychological treatment.
The daily indemnity is $103 per day, or part of a day, of hearings or deliberations. Beginning on the 57th day, the indemnity is increased to $160.
In some cases, you are entitled to an additional indemnity, as shown in the following table.
|Time of hearing or deliberation||Additional indemnity|
|Public holiday, or Sunday|
On order of the judge and presentation of vouchers, you are entitled to receive an allowance for:
- the care of children or other dependents;
- psychological treatment.
Care of children or other dependents
For the care of children or other dependents, you are entitled to receive, per week:
|Number of dependents||Allowance|
|4 or more people||$264|
The amount is increased by a cost-of-living increase on 1 January each year.
On order of the judge, you are entitled to receive an allowance to help you pay for the cost of psychological treatment.
The allowance is $65 per hour, up to a maximum of 5 hours of treatment.
Obligations of prospective jurors and jurors
Jury duty service is a legal obligation. As a prospective juror or a juror, you also have other obligations.
As a prospective juror, you must:
- go to the courthouse for any jury selection for which you have received a summons;
- remain in the courthouse until the judge allows you to leave;
- ask to be disqualified if you are not qualified because of your situation;
- request an exemption on one of the specific grounds for exemption, if you do not want to perform jury duty.
When you receive a summons, it remains in effect for any jury selection during a maximum period of five months.
However, once you have been selected as a juror, you will not be summoned to any further jury selections.
As a juror, you must respect the confidentiality of the jury's deliberations. In other words, once the trial is over you cannot say anything about the discussions among the jurors during the jury's deliberations.
When the time comes for the jury to deliberate on its verdict, you will be isolated by the court with the other jurors. Up to this point, you are generally allowed to go home after each day of the hearing.
Rights of prospective jurors and jurors
You have rights as a prospective juror or juror, designed to protect you and your employment.
Protection of employment
As a prospective juror or juror, you are entitled to the protection of your employment.
Your employer cannot dismiss, suspend or transfer you because you have been summoned as a prospective juror or performed jury duty, and cannot practise discrimination or take reprisals against you or impose any other sanction.
However, your employer is not required to continue to pay your wages or salary, except if this is required under your collective agreement or contract of employment.
If your employer infringes on your rights, you can file a complaint with the Administrative Labour Tribunal or with your union, if applicable.
To ensure that your rights are respected, you can consult a lawyer.
Protection of your person
Various measures are in place to protect you. For example, you will be known only by the number allocated to you during the jury selection process.
In addition, a special constable or security agent will be there to protect you throughout the trial.
Postponement of jury duty
If you are summoned for jury duty, you can apply for a postponement to a later session that is more convenient to you, within the next 12 months.
However, you can only obtain a postponement if you show that your situation prevents you from performing jury duty at the session for which you were summoned.
Duration of jury duty
Your duties as a juror end once the trial to which you are assigned is over. When you are selected, you will be informed of the schedule duration of the trial and, as a result, of the duration of your jury duty.