Random numbers and jury service
In order to maintain a fair and democratic justice system, selection of the jurors in the UK from the electoral roll is random and there are no criteria necessary for selection. A large group of people are randomly selected and brought into Court to form the ‘jury in waiting’. Then, their names are written on pieces of card, which is shuffled before their names are read out to form a jury of 12 people.
The jurors will then each stand up and swear an oath on their holy book or affirm if they have no religion. Once the jurors have each been ‘sworn in’, the jury has been ‘empanelled’ and the trial may then begin. Historically, the pool from which the jury panel was selected was not representative of the general population; until the nineteenth century, jury service was restricted to male property owners. ‘According to the latest figures from the Ministry of Justice, there is about a 35% chance of people in England and Wales being summoned for jury service over the course of their lifetime. Find out more here.