Jury Service

This week and next I am undertaking jury service. When I first received the letter I really didn't want to go - I thought it would be disruptive to my normal schedule. However, this week my view of it has completely changed.

On the first day we arrived at the court and were taken up in a special lift to the Jury waiting area. It is a very large area with nice seats, a few books scattered round and a few TVs. We were shown a video which outlined our role and what we would be required to do if we had to go into court. After having filled in our (rather generous) expenses form, we just sat around chatting, reading, watching TV. I'm hoping to get to do a bit more of that next week - I'm planning to bring in some work I need to get done and it would be the perfect opportunity!

Then, towards the end of the first day (after having had a fairly impressive lunch in the Jury dining area) I was one of the chosen few to go down into court. It was quite nerve racking as we were led in and the charges were read to us. We then had to identify if we knew the defendant or any of the witnesses. Then 12 of the 16 were chosen at random and sworn in.

Over the last few days the trial has proceeded - we have heard evidence from both sides now and tomorrow I expect we will start to deliberate over our verdict. I must say that the court experience of it has been less formal than I expected. Yes, at times they have been very formal, but then at other times, the judge and barristers have used quite colloquial language and have been quite friendly towards the jury. In fact, at times, they have treated us pretty much feel like royalty and have made us feel like we are the most important people in the court.

I don't know what will happen tomorrow when we retire to discuss our verdict. I was pleased to find that there don't seem to be too many Chavs or unintelligent people doing jury service - everyone seems to be fairly respectable. And the people on my jury are nice - in fact I've become quite friendly with a few of them.

Hopefully I'll be assigned to another trial next week (though would like some time as well to get some work done). But I am really enjoying it - I like the short days, the nice lunches, the sitting chatting and watching TV, the being treated like royalty and the interesting trial. I won't want to go back to work at the end of it. Is there any chance of me becoming a professional juror?!