Welcome to the Judiciary of the
Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
The Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago provides an accountable court system in which timeliness and efficiency are the hallmarks, while still protecting integrity, fairness, equality and accessibility and attracting public trust and confidence.
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JURY SERVICE – General Information
Jurors are critical to the administration of Justice in Trinidad & Tobago. Jurors are randomly chosen to give a verdict in criminal cases after considering evidence. The guilt of an accused person must be proved to the highest standard beyond reasonable doubt.
Jury service is one's most important civic duty. It's an obligation which is both memorable and valuable. Juries are needed for criminal trials without them, criminal trials at assizes cannot proceed.
Q. Who is eligible?
A. Every person over the age of 18 years and under the age of 65 years who is ordinarily resident in Trinidad and Tobago or was born in Trinidad and Tobago; or not being born, has resided in Trinidad and Tobago for two years or more and whose name is on the list of jurors can be called for jury service.
Q. How do I know I have been chosen to serve as a juror?
A. A jury summons is issued and served on you indicating that you have been called for jury service.
Q. How long must I serve?
A. Jurors are usually required to serve for approximately one month or until the end of the trial.
Q. Do I have to serve?
A. Yes, it is you civic responsibility. If you fail to attend Court at the date and time stated on your jury summons you can be fined. If the fine is not paid you can be ordered to serve a term of imprisonment.
Q. Is my employer obligated to allow me time off for jury service?
A. Yes, the juror’s employment is not to be adversely affected because he/she is required to serve as a juror.
Q. Are there any reasons which would prevent me from being selected as a juror?
A. The law exempts certain persons and deems others ineligible to serve as jurors.
Q. Who is exempt?
A. The following persons are exempted from jury service:
• Persons aged 65 years and over
• Judges of the Supreme Court, Members of Parliament, Magistrates and their clerks, Justices of the Peace, Attorneys at Law in actual practice and their clerks, officers of the Courts of Justice, members of the police service and Constables, Mayors and Deputy Mayors and the spouses of all previously mentioned individuals
• Officers and servants of the Post Office, Customs & Excise Department
• Ministers of Religion,
• Consuls and Vice Consuls
• School teachers
• Pilots who are licensed under Section 5 of the Pilotage Act and members of the air-crew of any airline service operating under an agreement with the Government.
• Prison Officers, Fire Officers and members of the Defence Force
• Members of the medical board in actual practice and persons registered under the Medical Board act (other than licensed shopkeepers)
• Those who have been excused by a Judge for a specific period
• Licensed Pharmacists in actual practice.
Additionally there are persons categorised as ineligible who cannot serve as jurors. This group includes:
• Those who cannot read and write or whose level of literacy impairs their performance as a juror.
You are also disqualified from jury service if you:
• Are of unsound mind, imbecile, deaf, blind or afflicted with any other permanent infirmity of body or mind
• Have been convicted of an arrestable offence or any indictable offence involving dishonesty and has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment with respect to the indictable offence.
• Are bankrupt, or have entered into a deed of arrangement with your creditors.
Q. If I am summoned to serve and I am unable to do so what do I do?
A. You can apply to the Court for an exemption or deferral from jury service.
Q. How many jurors are required?
A. For cases in which the penalty for the offence is death by hanging 12 jurors are required. For any other case, 9 jurors are required. Additionally, the trial judges have a discretion to select a maximum of 6 alternate jurors.
Q. Are jurors paid for their services?
A. Yes, subsistence and travelling allowances are provided.
Below are the steps involved in jury service
1. Potential jurors are summoned
2. If you are unable to serve you seek an exemption/deferral
3. Summoned jurors attend Court on date identified on the jury summons
4. Jurors for trial are randomly selected from the pool of jurors
5. Selected jurors are sworn in (some may be challenged)
6. A Foreman is appointed and alternates selected
7. The charge is read to the accused
8. The Judge welcomes the Jury
9. The evidence is presented by the prosecution and defence
10. Closing addresses by both prosecution and defence
11. The Judge sums up the case
12. The jury deliberates
13. Where applicable additional matters are clarified as necessary
14. A verdict is reached
15. The verdict is delivered
16. The jurors are discharged
Issued by the Chief Justice in association with the Judges of the High Court