How is Someone Selected for Jury Duty?
Juries are selected through a process called “Jury Summoning”. A summons is a court order to appear in court. Individuals summoned for jury selection are randomly selected from the provincial voters list. From this list, a certain number of individuals are summoned for jury duty and will be potentially selected as jurors. If you are not registered as a provincial voter, you can self-register for the Juror Database if you wish to be selected to be on a jury.
French-speaking accused in criminal trials have the right to a jury who speaks French. Some criminal jury trials will need a French-speaking jury (although very few in BC). British Columbians who are fluent in French can self-register on the French Juror Database as individuals who can serve as potential jurors in French-speaking criminal jury trials
What to Do if You Receive a Jury Summons
The document that informs a person that they have been selected for jury duty is called the “jury summons”. Jury summons can be received by mail, e-mail, or personal delivery by the sheriff. The jury summons will say what date and time a potential juror is required to appear at the courthouse. When a potential juror is first summoned, this does not mean they are a juror. Rather it means that they will be a part of the pool from which the jury panel will be selected.
It is mandatory to respond to a jury summons. Even if a juror thinks they are not qualified or that they need to seek an exemption from jury duty, they have a legal obligation to respond to the summons. Jury summons can be responded to by mail, or online using the Court Services eResponse website.
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