Over 400,000 people perform jury service in the UK every year and, unless you work in law enforcement, it’s almost always compulsory.
Because jury service is mandatory your employer must give you time off to attend, although they don’t actually have to pay you during it. Rather than simply not getting paid, you can ask your employer to complete a Certificate of Loss of Earnings, and hand it in on your first day of court to reclaim the lost earnings.
You can can claim loss of earnings from the court whether you work for yourself or someone else.
Do I have to do jury service if I’m self employed?
Yes, you still need to carry out your jury service when called to do so, even if you’re self-employed and it means turning down work. You’ll receive a letter in advance from the Jury Central Summoning Bureau telling you when and where your jury service will take place.
The letter is normally sent out well in advance so if you do work for yourself, you’ll normally have enough time to let your clients know, and rearrange any existing plans or work. It may also help to contact your clients and warn them there may be delays, or that you might be out of contact for hours at a time whilst the court is sitting.
Can I postpone my jury duty?
You can apply to defer jury duty, though you’re only able to do this once. You’ll need to provide evidence (and a jolly good reason – they’re strict) explaining why you’re not able to complete your jury service. For instance, because you have contractual commitments to meet a deadline for a client. Your application must also supply alternative dates for the following 12 months.
Sole Trader accountancy services
From only £24.50 per month
Can I reclaim lost earnings for jury service if I’m self-employed?
Yes, you can normally reclaim at least some of your lost self-employment earnings, although you’ll need to provide the court with proof of your expected income. You can show evidence of this using several methods, such as:
A letter from your accountant detailing your lost income
Hand any evidence of earnings in to the usher on your first day of court (and keep a copy for yourself!).
Is there a limit on what I can claim?
Unfortunately, yes. For each day that you attend you can normally claim up to a maximum of £64.95 in order to cover the loss of your earnings, and the cost of any additional care arrangements you need to make as a result being in court.
Can I claim any other expenses for jury service?
You can claim a daily food and drink allowance of up to £5.71, as well as the cost of travelling to and from the court whilst taking part in jury service duties. If you’re driving yourself, some courts might stipulate which car parks you can use (meaning they might only reimburse you up to a maximum amount if there’s a cheaper car park they’d prefer you to use).
Subscribe to our newsletter to get accounting tips like this right to your inbox
About The Author
MAAT and ICPA accountant, with a passion for making accountancy and bookkeeping accessible. Other interests include cloud-based software development for web and mobile access, keeping fit, reading, and entrepreneurship.