Can you be excused from jury duty for anxiety? (Reasons)

In this guide, we will discuss “Can you be excused from jury duty for anxiety” and we will mention some of the valid reasons you could ask to be excused from jury service or ask to change the date of your jury service if you are unable to attend, again, under a good and valid reason.

Can you be Excused from Jury Duty with Anxiety Disorder?

To be excused from jury duty with anxiety disorder, you need to have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder by a medical professional. If you have the diagnosis of an anxiety disorder that keeps you from jury duty, you can contact jury services at the court that called you and let them know about your situation.

If you wonder if you can be excused from jury duty for anxiety, consider that an anxiety disorder is considered a mental illness which is a legitimate medical condition. If this can be certified by a doctor, chances are you will be excused from jury duty. However, we will mention more in-depth the exemptions from jury service. 

If you are over the age of 18 and you have been called for jury service then you must comply and fulfil your duty but some people are not eligible for service or can get excused under certain circumstances. For instance, if you are over 70 years old you can ask to be excluded but there is no automatic exemption from the jury service for being elderly.

Moreover, let’s mention some of the reasons for not completing jury service if you are:

  • Not qualified: if you are on bail, you can’t serve on a jury in the Crown Court but you can in the High Court or a Coroner’s Court.
  • Disqualified: if you have a criminal conviction it doesn’t mean you are automatically disqualified. For instance, you would be disqualified if you were convicted by a court in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man and you have been sentenced to five years or more in prison. 
  • Ineligible: you might be ineligible due to the type of work you do. For instance, if you are an employee in the administration of justice, you had a job during the last 10 years with lay magistrates, solicitors’ clerks, barristers at law and solicitors, among others.
  • Excusable: you may be excusable but you’ll have to claim that right. Jobs and circumstances that will allow you to be excused from jury service include members of the House of Commons, peers and peeresses entitled to receive writs of summons for the House of Lords, members of the Northern Ireland Assembly, among others.

Can I ask to change the day or be excused for anxiety?

So far we have mentioned some of the reasons for not completing the jury service but what happens if you have anxiety or another mental illness, you have booked a holiday or you are due for an operation?

According to the gov.uk website, if you can’t do jury service on the dates stated in your summons letter, you can ask them to change the date or be excused. If you ask to change the date of your jury service you are required to have a good reason, for example:

  • a booked holiday
  • an operation
  • an exam
  • your employer will not give you time off work

Moreover, you are only allowed to change the date once and to do so, you need to reply to your jury summons stating the reason. When you reply, you can suggest 3 possible dates in the next 12 months that will suit you best. 

In contrast, if you need to ask to be excused from jury service because it is not possible for you to comply in the next 12 months, you can ask to be excused and you will also need a good reason, for example:

  • you have a serious illness or disability that prevents you from doing jury service
  • you’re a full-time carer of someone with an illness or disability

Besides, if you have done jury service in the last 2 years, you can also ask to be excused. As indicated on the government website:

“To ask to be excused, reply to your jury summons giving your reason. You might need to give proof, for example, if you’re ill you might be asked for a letter from your doctor.”

 How does jury service work?

If you get your jury summons by post, you are required to answer within 7 days. You will be asked to confirm attendance when you reply. You will be part of a jury formed by 12 people who will decide the outcome of a criminal trial.

Moreover, the jury service usually lasts up to 10 working days but it could be more and if it is the case, the jury staff will inform you. On the contrary, if it lasts less than 10 days, you may be asked to be a juror on other trials.

Usually, you will be required from 10 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday, but it can vary. On your first day, you will need to arrive earlier so check your summons letter for the exact time.

What you can claim

Even though you are not going to be paid during jury service, you can claim some money back if you lose earnings. Additionally, you can claim some expenses such as travel expenses.

Also, if you are an employee you can claim some money back in the case your earnings are affected. You can usually claim:

  • up to £64.95 towards your loss of earnings, and extra childcare or care costs
  • £5.71 for food and drink
  • the cost of travel to and from court

However, if your duty service goes beyond the 10 working days then the amount you can claim increases to cover the loss of earnings, childcare and other care costs. You will be able to claim up to:

  • £129.91 a day if you spend more than 4 hours at the court
  • £64.95 a day if you spend 4 hours or less at court

In contrast, if you are unemployed or not working,  For each day you’re at court, you can usually claim:

  • up to £64.95 towards your loss of earnings, and extra childcare or care costs
  • £5.71 for food and drink
  • the cost of travel to and from court

However, if your duty service goes beyond the 10 working days then the amount you can claim increases to cover the loss of earnings, childcare and other care costs. You will be able to claim up to:

  • £129.91 a day if you spend more than 4 hours at the court
  • £64.95 a day if you spend 4 hours or less at court

What happens if I am self-employed?

If you are self-employed, for each day you are at court, you can usually claim:

  • up to £64.95 towards your loss of earnings, and extra childcare or care costs
  • £5.71 for food and drink
  • the cost of travel to and from court

However, if your duty service goes beyond the 10 working days then the amount you can claim increases to cover the loss of earnings, childcare and other care costs. You will be able to claim up to:

  • £129.91 a day if you spend more than 4 hours at the court
  • £64.95 a day if you spend 4 hours or less at court

Why is this blog about Can you be excused from jury duty for anxiety important?

As discussed, you can be excused from jury duty under certain particular scenarios and circumstances. Some of them involve having a serious medical illness, getting surgery, caring for someone with a disability or having a disability yourself. However, you will need to provide a good reason and proof for being excused from jury duty. If you do not qualify for being excused, you can still ask for a deferral of the date and you can choose 3 possible dates that may suit you.

Remember, under no circumstance is recommended simply not attending court just make sure to let them know why you won’t be able to attend since you may face fines or more serious charges.

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Can you be excused from jury duty for anxiety

Can you be excused from jury duty due to anxiety?

It is possible to be excused due to anxiety if your anxiety is considered a disability. You will need to get a note or certification from your doctor so you can send it when you reply to your jury summons.

How can I get excused from jury duty?

Several reasons can get you excused from jury duty. Some of them are related to the type of job you might be doing, some related to having a criminal record (under certain specific circumstances), some related to having a serious illness or if you are due soon for surgery or even if you are a full-time carer for someone with a disability. It will depend on your circumstances but you will need to have a good reason to be excused.

Can you get out of jury duty for being out of town?

If you are out of time by the dates your summons letter states, you may be able to defer your jury service until a letter date but you won’t probably get excused unless there is a good reason for it. For instance, being out of town due to medical illness or a surgical procedure.

Can you be excused from jury duty if you are a stay at home mom?

You may not be excused from jury duty if you are a stay at home mom unless you are a full-time carer of someone with a disability. If this is not the case then you may ask to defer the date but you will need to have an approved reason not to fulfil your jury duty.

What happens if you ignore jury duty?

If you ignore your jury duty you could face fines or even more serious charges if you fail to let the court know you won’t be attending and the reason why you are not attending. Under no circumstance simply don’t turn up for your jury duty. If you have a good reason why you are not attending, make sure to let the court know.

What we recommend for curbing Anxiety

Below are some of the services and products we recommend for anxiety

Anxiety Weighted Blankets

  • Anxiety Weighted Blankets are by far the number 1 thing every person who suffers from anxiety should at least try. Anxiety Blankets may improve your sleep, allow you to fall asleep faster and you can even carry them around when chilling at home.

Online Therapy

  • Online therapy is another thing we should all try. We highly recommend Online therapy with a provider who not only provides therapy but a complete mental health toolbox to help your wellness.

Anxiety Course

  • With over 50,000 participants, this anxiety course may be just what you need to regain control of your life.

Light Therapy

  • Amber light therapy from Amber lights could increase the melatonin production in your body and help you sleep better at night.  An Amber light lamp helps reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and increases overall sleep quality.

References 

Nidirect.gov.uk: “Exemptions from jury service”

Gov.uk: “Jury service”

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