jury service

According to the article published in the Sunday Star Times, four out of five people do not turn up for jury service.

I’m not surprised. The facts are you’re paid $62 per day ($7.75/hr) which is 61% of the minimum wage. I laughed when I read what the justice minister had to say “It’s an acknowledgement that you’re going to be disadvantaged or there’s going to be some expense to you for coming for jury service, but it’s not a fee that’s expected to make up for your lost earnings”.

So where does that leave the person who has been summonsed. We are a nation of people who like owning houses, having fancy televisions, and owning a flash car. Tugging at my moral heart strings and telling me to do my civic duty unfortunately will not pay my bills or put food on the table.

This country is predominantly made up of small and medium sized enterprises and they are encouraged, but not legally required, to pay a person while they are on jury service. I agree with this approach as the cost of an employee attending jury service can potentially be a big expense. Why should small business owners carry the cost of administering part of the country’s legal system? Why should a small business owner’s entrepreneurial benefit and potential business growth be lowered because they feel obliged to pay what I think should be a state expense?

So many questions and so few answers. What I do believe is people should be sufficiently compensated for their time while on jury service and it needs to be more than $62 per day.


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