British Lung Foundation
34,329 members41,696 posts

Jury duty

Just been called, only just over 5 years since I last sat in a courtroom for a week hoping it wouldn't be me! Mainly because I was pretty ill back then and the thought of coughing my way through a trial was just horrible. We were discharged that time thankfully.

I am a bit more pragmatic now - I did wonder if my 'condition' might excuse me but I don't think a doctors note will get me out of it.

Anyone been (un)lucky enough to do their civic duty?

marie x

20 Replies

Nope not me, but my ex-husband had to do it and was annoyed it was only relatively boring cases - he was looking forward to a long, juicy case I suspect !


I was once called but got out of it because I was looking after my mother who had lost her sight. No way could I do it now. It would be in Shrewsbury and that's 26 miles away. I would think your condition (don't know how bad you are) would be an excuse.

Lib x


Hi Marie, I was called about a year ago. I would like to have done my civic duty, but requested an exemption due to my severe emphysema & polythycemia I am on oxygen 24/7. I was excused without the need for a doctors note. I think it depends on how severe your condition is & how it affects you.

Best wishes




I think I am probably still too fit to claim an exemption. I don't mind doing it at all - I just worry about possibly being away from work at a desperately busy time. I will jsut have to wait and see what happens!



Far too old!!


Whatever you do, do not shout out Guilty when they call your name .... I was warned I could be held in contempt of court for that.

Sadly, I seem to be selected every 5 years .... and only got away without having to participate in two of those cases.

Prior to any jury selection, you are advised on what merits reasonable dismissal from participating, such as ill health, knowing the accused, specialised job which is difficult to fill in your absence etc.

With any luck if you are picked, the case may be thrown out before a trial takes place, or there is a plea change.


I pleaded idiocy. Seemed to work. I told them I was the only sensible one on here and couldn't be spared.

Bobby xxx


Yes never again hopefully, one lad hit another lad with a bar stool, the lad that got hit with the bar stool was charged with GBH because he defended himself, and put the assailant in hospital, he pleaded not guilty, which i agreed with but the rest of the jury, went against him, just because they we're to scared to acquit the lad, because the assailant was a well known local bully. So not fair !!


Hi , yes I was called for jury service around 3 yrs ago I went to doc and said I was worried that being shut in will set off my cough and disrupt procedings And who n.ows what would have happened she wrote to the courts told them I had a chronic condition and I received a letter from courts to say I was excused




I did jury service in January, I may have been better off getting a Dr letter to be excused, as we spent most of the 2 weeks waitng to be selected, having a short case, then being put on standby for the last 2 days. I was excused by the judge from a long case (possibly 12 weeks) due to ill health, as I was just recovering from an exacerbation and was still prone to coughing fits which would be disruptive and embarassing. Also having hospital appointments pre booked during the intended period.

I was excused my previous jury service about 12 years ago with a letter from the dr as a chronic asthmatic which could be brought on by the stress.


My son was called just after his 18th birthday - one case was a prostitute, she was being questioned about various things in her room such as whips etc., then asked accusingly "And what was the umbrella for?" she replied "It's for when I go out and it's raining" !!!! Duh!!


I did jury service a few years ago, before my meds were changed, and I coughed constantly, I took a bottle of water in with me, but they do offer you water before you start. It was a bit embarrassing but I got through it. Hope your ok with it. Shirley x


When I lived in London I was called on to do my jury service at the Old Bailey of all places. What a fantastic place it is all very high ceilings and marble everywhere. That was back in 1987. I had a cold which I thought might turn into a chest infection so I went to the doctor first. He asked me if I wanted to be excused because of it. When I said no he gave me some antibiotics just in case.

I served on one jury and we were asked to pick a foreman. The whisper went round to pick this guy in front of me so we all just poked him in the back and he 'volunteered'. Right on the very last day I had a coughing fit as the defence was summing up. The barrister just stopped and smiled at me. The judge hurridly called a break and we filed out, me still coughing my lungs out. I was so embarrassed. When we came back the judge asked me if I was ok now! I remember we had a spare day and most of us went round the Barbican and St. Pauls Cathedral up to the whispering gallery.

I volunteered, along with about 400 potential jurors, to be a jury on the Brinksmatt robbery (remember that?) It was going to be a 6 month trial. Anyway to my shock my name was called out and I was sworn in! After, as I had just started a new job, I decided I didn't want to do it after all. Fortunately someone else also wanted to get off the jury. So we all filed back into a packed courtroom and the judge said - I believe 2 of you want to get off the jury now. He looked straight at me and said - you come here and tell me why you can't do it now. I was shaking like a leaf. I just held up my bottle of antibiotics and shook them saying I had chest infection and my coughing would be disruptive. He then dismissed me thank goodness! All in all though I had a great time and wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Bev x


These 2 deletions are mine as my message printed 3 times!

Ps Did you know the Old Bailey was built on the old Newgate Prison site? And some of the old walls are still partially standing and it is haunted?

bev x


I was on 2 cases though. The first was this guy bought some drugs from this guy in Hackney (where I lived). The stuff was dud so he got a couple of his mates and paid the seller a visit. Unfortunately he lived in a high rise block on the 8th floor. He was so scared when they kicked his door in he locked himself in the bathroom and jumped out the window...

They had to scrape him up. They were found guilty which we all felt a bit bad about. But afterwards the police said they were gun runners from Jamaica but they didn't have enough evidence against them. We felt better after that.

The 2nd case was murder. At Hammersmith tube one night 2 groups we coming down the stairs. Once group of punks and a group of guys. Some name calling and argy bargy started and a girl stabbed one of the guys. She pleaded not guilty at first then changed it to guilty. We were discharged then. Great stuff!

Bev x


My wife was called for jury service 3 times.

The first time they were discharged because the defendant didn't turn up.

The 2nd and 3rd times she was excused as her religion forbids judging other people.

She converted to a Jehova's Witness some years ago but is the same person she always was !!!

I am not religious.


When I had two young children I was called for Jury service. I sent them a letter and said I was refusing on the grounds that there is no members of family to look after my children, and I have never had a child-minder and do not intend to start now.

They wrote back and dismissed me.

It would be the same now, with being my husbands full time carer there is no way I would do Jury service even though I would love to do it.


i did jury service about 10 years ago. I was called to hear a case regarding child abuse within a family. I was not allowed to discuss the case whilst it was going on and found the whole thing very distressing but fascinating. The case had to be abandoned as the last witness was put on the stand due to a relative of the judge knowing the witness. It upset me that I never knew the outcome of the re-trial. I felt so sorry for the witnesses who would have to give evidence again. Joyce


My wife has been called 3times last 2times because of my condition she was excused I was also excused because of my condition this year


I served on a jury once for a rape case which I found a bit upsetting fortunately on the second day of evidence the Doctor who had examined the witness was also my Doctor and as we had been told if we knew or recognised anyone giving evidence we had to raise our hands which I did and explained and was excused and they continued with 11 jurors. I too was curious re the outcome and at the point of leaving the jury had, through some details of evidence I will not go into here, thought that the accused was very likely guilty (I know I probably should not have thought this so early in the trial but as I said some points of evidence presented certainly in my mind pointed that way although of course I did not know how the other jurors felt that time nor what evidence the defence would present. Anyway given all that I was curious regarding the outcome and telephoned the court sometime after and explained I had been on the jury etc. and asked what the verdict was - it was guilty which pleased me although I cannot now remember what the sentence was. I do remember though I felt a tremendous sense of responsibility and duty - it is certainly not something to be taken lightly but in a strange sense I did enjoy it and was a little disappointed that I could not see it through to the end.


You may also like...