Jury service

This guide has information for people who have been asked to serve on a jury in the Northern Territory (NT).

A jury is a panel of 12 people selected from the community who decide whether the person on trial is guilty or not.

Most criminal cases in the Supreme Court are held in front of a jury.

You can be asked to serve on a jury if:

  • you are on the electoral roll
  • are between 18 and 70 years old.

Serving on a jury is an important part of the justice system. You are participating in a process that defends the rights of Australian citizens.

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A computer randomly selects names from the electoral roll. This is the list of people registered to vote in the Northern Territory (NT).

About 300 people are summonsed to attend court as a juror from the electoral roll and put into panels.

Only 12 to 14 people are selected to serve as a juror on each trial.

Choosing the final jury

You will be given a date to go to the Supreme Court to see if you are selected as a juror.

You may be dismissed if you are not needed, or you may be entered into a ballot, where the names the people who will serve on the jury will be drawn. 

You may also need to return on another day if the trial doesn't start on that day or if another trial is listed during the sittings for your jury panel.

Sittings normally go for about four weeks, but can be longer. 

Get on the electoral roll

To enrol for the first time or get back on the electoral roll, go to the Australian Electoral Commission website.

If you are selected for jury service, you will be sent a document called a summons to juror.

You will also be sent another document called an acknowledgment of receipt of jury summons.

You must:

  • complete the acknowledgement of receipt
  • return it in the reply paid envelope provided.

You can be fined $500 if you fail to respond to a jury summons, or leave jury service without permission.

Panel allocation

You will be given a panel allocation number, found on the right hand corner of the summons to juror document.  

You are allocated to either a panel A or panel B during the time you are required to be available for jury service.

You will also be sent a jury service information package and booklet with the contact details for your panel.

Trials usually take from one to six weeks.

The normal sitting hours for the Supreme Court are 10am to 4:30pm with a lunch break between 12:30pm to 2pm.

Short breaks are also taken in the mornings and afternoons.

You should call the jury information number on either the morning of the court hearing, or after 5pm the day before for the latest information about whether you are needed in court.

You must call either:

  • Darwin
    • Panel A -  call 1800 657 600 
    • Panel B -  call 1800 657 511
  • or Alice Springs - call 1800 064 619.

Arriving in court

You should arrive at court by 8:45am, unless you are given a different time on the jury information hotline.

You should wear neat, casual clothing and make sure you have read the courtroom rules.

Darwin

Go to the jury muster room which is on the ground floor of the Supreme Court, on the left after the security and information desk.

Alice Springs

Go to the Law Court Building on the corner of Parsons and Hartley streets.

Read more information about the Supreme Court, including maps.

You should ask your employer if you will be paid and/or you need to use your leave during jury service.

If you are paid as normal and/or don’t have to use your leave, you won’t be eligible to receive any payment during jury service.

Otherwise, the payment is one of the following:

  • attendance without selection - when you are not selected to be on the jury - $20 per day
  • attendance as a selected juror on a trial of nine days or less - $60 per day
  • attendance as a selected juror on a trial of 10 days or more - $120 per day

You must complete a request for payment form and submit it with the court sheriff at the beginning of the sittings.

You will be paid by direct debit into your bank account every two weeks.

You may apply to be excused from jury service if either:

  • you have a good reason, such as ill health, urgent or important matters
  • or you have served on a jury within the last three years.

However, approvals for release are not often granted.

How to apply to be excused

If you feel you may be exempt or excused, you must complete a statutory declaration stating the reasons why you are unable to serve on a jury.

Your statutory declaration must be signed and witnessed by anyone who is over 18 years old.

You must return your statutory declaration in the reply paid envelope.

A court officer will contact you about your application.

People who are not qualified

You are not qualified to serve as a juror if you:

  • are unable to read, write and speak English
  • are of unsound mind, in a hospital or approved treatment facility or undergoing treatment
  • are a protected person under the Aged and Infirm Persons’ Property Act
  • have been sentenced to life imprisonment
  • are on parole after a life imprisonment sentence
  • have been imprisoned in the last seven years
  • are under an order of the Adult Guardianship Act
  • do not live in the jury district for Darwin or Alice Springs.

People who are exempt

You are exempt from serving as a juror if any of the following apply:

  • you have a vision, hearing or other impairment
  • you are the Administrator, the Administrator’s official secretary or the secretary of the Executive Council
  • you hold or have held within 10 years a judicial office or are the spouse of a judge
  • you are a member of the Legislative Assembly
  • you are the Ombudsman or employed in the office of the Ombudsman
  • you are regularly employed in aerial ambulance services
  • you are a practising legal practitioner or an articled clerk of a practising legal practitioner
  • you are a clergyman in holy orders, a priest of the Roman Catholic faith, a minister of religion with an established congregation, a monk, nun or other vowed member of a religious community
  • you are a registered and practising dentist or dental specialist
  • you are a member of secretary of the Parole Board or a parole officer
  • you are a member of the Northern Territory police force
  • you are employed in a government agency responsible for law and administration of justice, prisons and correctional services, administration of the courts or who is under the direct control of the Commissioner of police
  • you are employed by the Legal Aid Commission.

It is against the law to be dismissed from your job for attending jury service. For more information, read the Juries Act 1962.

Last updated: 08 March 2019

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