Compensation for Jury Service – Scottish consultation on financial loss allowances during jury serviceMonday, October 13th, 2008
On 18 September 2008, the Scottish Government published a consultation document entitled The Modern Scottish Jury in Criminal Trials. A number of proposals are made, including increasing the serving age for jurors from 65 to 70, changes to the excusal rules, the size of juries, situations where trials might be heard without juries and, the subject of this news item, the compensation paid for jury service.
In particular, although the system of compensation compares not unfavourably with arrangements in other legal jurisdictions, the Scottish Government is concerned about the hardship that jury duty, particularly over a long period, can impose on members of the public. The financial loss allowances paid to jurors in Scotland are the same as those paid in the rest of the UK.
The ideas discussed in the consultation document include:
- adoption of the system used in Ireland which transfers the cost of jury service to employers and exempts self-employed persons where their livelihoods can be shown to be at risk
- whether the higher financial loss allowance for longer trials should to paid earlier and/or increased
- whether an enhanced allowance for the very longest trials should be increased.
In May 2008, the Northern Ireland Court Service also issued a consultation document on jury service, more specifically related to ways of increasing the number of people available for jury service. The matter of financial loss allowances was not discussed in the document.
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