At most inquests, there is no jury as the Coroner makes all the decisions. However, at a small number of inquests, a jury is needed. The Coroner will call a jury if a person dies in custody when the death is not clearly due to natural causes, or if their death was linked to their own or someone else's actions while at work, or to certain health and safety issues. The Senior Coroner may also decide to use a jury when there is sufficient reason for doing so or in the public interest.
Calling for members of Jury
We call members of the public to serve on the jury in the same way as other courts. They are chosen at random from the electoral register. The jurors listen to the evidence and decide on the findings of fact and the conclusion of the inquest (commonly known as the verdict).
Jury service is an important civic duty.
It can be challenging at times, however, many of our jurors also find it very satisfying and meaningful to take an active part in the justice system. We are grateful to our jurors for the vital role they play and give them all possible support.
This section of the website explains what to do if you have been summoned to serve on a jury and what to expect in court.
Further information about jury service, including details of expenses a juror can claim, can be found on the GovUK website here.
- Jury service: How jury service works - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Reply to a jury summons - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Courts, tribunals and appeals - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
If you have received a jury summons
You must respond to your jury summons within 3 days of getting it.
- Complete the form and return this either by email (scan or photos of the form is acceptable) or return it by post within 3 working days.
- You should complete all relevant contact information so that you can be contacted should anything change in relation to your summons.
After you respond
Once all jury responses are received, the Coroner shall review and decide if you are accepted to the jury, excused or deferred to a later date.
You shall then receive a letter confirming the Coroner’s decision around 4 weeks prior to the inquest start date.
If you have not received a letter confirming the decision 3 weeks prior to inquest please contact the Coroner’s Service at email@example.com
If you don't Respond
If you do not respond to the jury summons, the Coroner has the power to have you brought to court by the Police and fined: it is very important that you reply to the summons and give true information.
You can be fined up to £1,000 if you do not return the form or turn up for your jury service.
If Away or on Holiday
If you are away or on holiday when the form arrives, or if you have some other good reason for not replying straight away, just complete and return the form to us as soon as you can.
You will be provided with an expense form to complete on your first day of jury service. All payments will be made in line with the Ministry of Justice Guidelines and can be found on the GovUK website here.
- Employed : Jury service: What you can claim if you’re an employee - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Self-employed : Jury service: What you can claim if you’re self-employed - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Un-employed : Jury service: What you can claim if you're not working - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
It takes up to 8 weeks from date of submission for payment to be made, please do not contact the Coroners Service in relation to payment until this date has passed.
Please note that the Coroners Service shall not make payment for car parks, unless agreements has been made prior to the inquest beginning. It is advised to utilise Park and Ride facilities regularly available to the City Centre.
If all information is not provided with your expenses form (such as a letter from your employer) then one request shall be made for this information. If it has not been submitted within 4 weeks, payment shall be made excluded any fees where evidence has not been provided.
Please note: you must retain all receipts and travel tickets to submit with your claim
What should I wear?
There is no formal dress code for the Coroner's court.
However, the family of the person who has died will be there and we ask jurors to dress reasonably smartly out of respect. It is not necessary to wear a suit: smart casual clothes are fine.
What should I bring?
Please bring photo identification on the first day. If you do not have a photo ID, bring a utility bill or bank statement showing your name and address.
Laptops, tablets and mobile phones
There is often some waiting between court sessions, so you may want to bring a book or something to help pass the time.
You will have a shared locker to secure personal possessions in during court. We will provide tea, coffee and water. Y
You can bring a packed lunch if you wish, or there are several cafés just outside the court building.
Where should I go?
All jury inquests are held at The Council House, Old Market Square, Nottingham NG1 2DT.
Approach the front desk on arrival and explain that you are here for jury service.
Could I be stood down?
A Coroner's jury consists of between 7 and 11 people. We always call more than 11 jurors to allow for sickness or last minute problems, so some jurors will be stood down and will not need to serve on that day.
You will also be stood down if you have a conflict of interest with the case being heard. We try to avoid this by using the information supplied on your form. However, it still occasionally happens - for example, you may know one of the witnesses.
If you are stood down, we will pay any loss of earnings or travel expenses for the day you attended.
Once the members of the jury have been finalised, you will be shown through to the courtroom. You will need to take an oath or affirmation that you will give a true conclusion at the inquest according to the evidence. You can do this on the holy book of your choice or in a non-religious way.
Starting the case
The Coroner will begin by explaining what an inquest is in law and giving a summary of the facts of the case. This is not part of the evidence but is simply to set the scene.
They will explain some very important rules for jurors.
- It is vital that you do not discuss the case with anyone else, including your family or partner.
- You must not do independent research, for example on the internet.
- You must not attempt to communicate with anyone involved. If you do, it may affect the case and could even mean it has to be stopped and restarted with a new jury. You may also face penalties.
Please take the Coroner's directions on these issues very seriously.
Once the Coroner has given their introduction, they will call the first witness and the evidence will begin.
Once all the evidence has been heard, the Coroner will sum up the facts to refresh your memory. They will give you a choice of conclusions that you can come to and directions on how to decide between them.
All the jurors will then go out into a separate room and discuss the evidence. The Coroner will advise you on how best to do this and how to manage if you disagree.
When you have all come to a decision, one of the jurors will fill in a form stating the findings of fact and the conclusion.
You will all go back into court and one of the jurors will read out the form.
Once this has been done, the Coroner will make some concluding remarks and you will be free to go.
It is important to keep confidential what you discussed while you were deciding your conclusion even after the case has finished.
If you have any practical needs or problems during the inquest, please let the court clerk know - we are here to help.
Some of the evidence at inquests can be upsetting. If you are feeling troubled during or after the inquest, we can arrange for you to speak to someone in confidence and receive support.
You can also contact the Samaritans - although they cannot give advice.