Monday 14 November 2016

Maximum Age For Jury Is Set To Increase


People in England and Wales will be asked to serve a jury untill they reach at the age of 75.

The landmark change – the first of its kind in nearly 30 years – will be made in a bid to make juries more representative of the communities they serve, ministers have claimed.

Currently only those aged 18 to 70 are eligible to sit as jurors.

Justice Minister Sir Oliver Heald QC said: "Trial by jury is a fundamental part of our world-leading justice system and it is important that our juries reflect today's society.

"People are living longer, healthier lives, so it is right that our courts are able to benefit from the wisdom and experience that older people can offer."

Francis FitzGibbon QC, chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, added: "The wisdom and experience of older jurors should help them to make wise decisions, with insights that younger jurors may lack.

"There is every reason for our ageing population to continue to fulfil its civic duties.

"Those who are infirm can be excused. Jurors should come from all sectors of society, because the jury represents society in all its diversity."

It is thought the move to introduce a new upper age limit - first proposed in 2013 - could add an estimated three million eligible 70 to 75-year-olds to the overall jury "pool", boosting number from around 31 million to 34 million.

Roughly 178,000 people in England and Wales undertake jury service each year.

It is also thought the step could save the Government between £19 million and £39 million.

Savings could result if there is a reduction in the number of jurors who are in employment when they are called - meaning costs relating to loss of earnings are lower.

As with everyone selected for jury service, individuals over the age of 70 will be able to apply to be excused if they feel incapable of carrying out their duties, the Ministry of Justice said.



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