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Juries

Volume 978: debated on Thursday 14 February 1980

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asked the Attorney-General whether he will arrange to meet together with the Lord Chancellor the hon. Member for Newham, North-West, and two of his constituents who were jurors at the recent anarchist trial, to discuss their concern at matters which happened during and after this trial.

The Lord Chancellor and I are always prepared to meet Members of Parliament of either House by mutually convenient appointment. So far as the hon. Member's constituents are concerned, the Lord Chancellor has nothing to add to his letter of 30 January of which the hon. Member has had a copy.

asked the Attorney-General how members of a jury panel are selected; who are the individuals responsible for doing so; and what are the procedures for checking that those on the panel comply with the necessary statutory requirements.

Arrangements for the selection of jurors are governed by the Juries Act 1974. The electoral registers for the whole catchment area of a court are divided into three lists, some part of each parish and ward being included in each list. Each list is used in sequence in a three-year cycle. A jury summoning officer selects at random the names of electors from the list in use and a jury summons is sent to each person selected. Those summoned are required to state on a form sent with the summons whether they are ineligible, disqualified or entitled to be excused. It is an offence to refuse to give the information necessary to establish whether a person is qualified for jury service, or to give false information or to cause false information to be given. The names of those qualified to serve and not excused are made into a list known as a panel.A jury for a specific case is selected by ballot in open court from potential jurors on the panel. A juror is sworn after any challenge has been made and dealt with. It is the responsibility of the chief clerk at each centre of the Crown court to summon jurors for the Crown court at that place, except in Greater London where the under-sheriff performs this function.