What is a jury?
A jury is responsible for hearing the evidence in a trial and then rendering a verdict. The presiding judge will provide the jury with instructions on how to apply the law when considering the evidence. A jury consists of twelve people in a criminal trial and seven people in a civil trial. Only the Supreme Court conducts jury trials.
Who can serve on a jury?
In Nova Scotia, you can be a juror if you are a Canadian citizen and 18 years of age or older. You cannot serve on a jury if:
Jury trials resumed in Nova Scotia on Sept. 8, 2021. The Judiciary worked with the Nova Scotia Department of Justice to secure off-site venues that will allow jury selection and trials to proceed in person, while still respecting physical distancing requirements.
Information regarding these off-site venues will be included in the jury summons for potential jurors. Staff are also regularly updating the Jury Information Lines at each courthouse.
The safety of those who work in and appear before the Nova Scotia Courts must govern how we continue to function during the pandemic. As with any in-person court proceedings, rest assured that jury trials will proceed only if they can be conducted safely and in accordance with public health protocols to protect against the spread of the virus.
For more information on how the Nova Scotia Courts are operating during the pandemic CLICK HERE >>
May I be excused from serving?
Some reasons you may be
If you are a doctor, dentist, or member of the clergy, you are not automatically exempt from jury duty, but you may apply to be excused.
The Jury Coordinator has the authority to excuse people without them having to appear for other reasons, including financial hardship or illness. The Jury Coordinator can also defer someone to the next jury selection date if it is determined there is a scheduling conflict, such as a planned vacation. If the Jury Coordinator does not excuse or defer someone as requested, then the Judge presiding over the jury selection process may also excuse a prospective juror for other reasons.
Why was I picked?
Your name was selected from the provincial Health Registration List. Every year, tens of thousands of names and addresses are randomly selected by a computer program and submitted to the Department of Justice. Only your name and address are provided - no other personal information is shared with the Courts.
If you receive a summons to appear for jury selection, it does not necessarily mean you will sit on a jury. It does mean that, by law, you must report for jury duty and take part in the selection process, unless you are excused by the Jury Coordinator or the presiding judge. During the selection process in Court, it will be up to the lawyers involved in the case to either accept or challenge you as a juror. This is done through peremptory challenges, a process that allows counsel to exclude jurors without giving a reason.
If you are required to attend court for jury selection and you live more than 100 kilometres away, you will be paid 20 cents per kilometre to and from the courthouse.
If you are selected to sit on a jury, you will be paid $40.00 per day while serving and your parking will be reimbursed. You will also be paid 20 cents per kilometre to and from the courthouse.
The information sheets and forms linked-to below are sent to prospective jurors who are summoned to attend for jury selection.
Do I have to serve?
Jury duty is governed by the JURIES ACT OF NOVA SCOTIA >> The Act states that:
|Every person who|
|(a)||is required to complete and return a juror information form and, without reasonable excuse, fails to do so;|
|(b)||without reasonable excuse, gives false or misleading information in a juror information form or in an application to be excused from service as a juror;|
|(c)||is summoned to attend and, without reasonable excuse, fails to obey the summons or fails to answer when called by the jury co-ordinator; or|
|(d)||contravenes any other provision of this Act,|
|is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a penalty of not more than one thousand dollars.|
I still have some questions...
If you have read all the available information and still have questions about the process, call the Jury Coordinator at the courthouse nearest you. His or her name and phone number is included on the Jury Summons. You can also call the courthouse nearest you. For contact information and maps for the Province's courthouses CLICK HERE >>
The information provided on this page and on the rest
of this website is not intended to constitute legal advice.
If you have legal questions, please consult with a lawyer.