What to expect on your first day

What will happen on the first day of jury service?

What should I wear/bring?

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.

There is often some waiting between court sessions, so you may want to bring a book or something to help pass the time. Please do not bring items that could cause a security issue such as penknives. You can bring a packed lunch if you wish, or there are several cafes just outside the court building.  

Where should I go?

You will have detailed instructions of where to attend on your confirmation letter.

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. We will ask for volunteers. If it would be very inconvenient for you to be stood down - for example, if you have already rearranged your roster at work - we will not choose you.

You will also be stood down if you have a conflict of interest with the case being heard - 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 time you attended.

Swearing in

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.

If you would like to take the oath on a holy book other than the New Testament, you will need to bring your own preferred holy book and let the Court Officer know on the day of the inquest 

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.