asked Her Majesty’s Government:
What representations he has received about the position of self-employed justices of the peace and the difficulties they may face in respect of both their own professional obligations and their magistrates’ court attendance duties if summoned for jury service. [HL7002]
My department has received four letters from justices of the peace summoned for jury service about the combined commitment of being a JP and a juror. All four were received within the first year of JPs and others being eligible to serve. This does not include applications for excusal or deferral from JPs summoned for jury service. Any such applications, made to either the Jury Central Summoning Bureau or Crown Court, would be dealt with on their individual merits. In the case of a self- employed magistrate, the effect of jury service on both their work and their ability to sit as a magistrate would be taken into account in coming to a decision. A circular was sent to advisory committees and sub-committees on justices of the peace on 21 March 2006 clarifying a number of points about magistrates summoned for jury service. It followed a similar circular in 2004.