Over 400,000 people perform jury service in the UK every year unless you work in law enforcement, it’s almost always compulsory.
If you work for an employer then they must give you time off work so you can perform your jury service, though they don’t have to pay you. You can can claim loss of earnings from the court whether you work for yourself or someone else. If you’re an employee, ask your employer to complete a Certificate of Loss of Earnings, and hand it in on your first day of court.
Do I have to do jury service if I’m self employed?
You have to carry out your jury service, even if you’re self-employed and it means turning down work. Fortunately, you can claim back some of your lost earnings by providing proof of 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!).
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.
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Claiming expenses for jury service
You can claim expenses from the court whilst taking part in jury service duties. This typically includes claims for daily travel to and from court, plus parking fees if applicable. Lunch and any refreshments are also eligible, as are the loss of earnings, though there’s a maximum claim amount for both of these.
You can also claim for other expenses, such as child care costs. However, even though you can claim for different types of expense, you can only claim up to the maximum daily amount.
Dealing with jury duty when you’re self employed
If you work for yourself, then the potential loss of income from fulfilling your jury duty can be particularly worrying. Especially so, if there’s a chance of losing clients.
It might be worth doing some research into jury service insurance if you haven’t already had the letter. It might prove useful for freelancers, contractors and the otherwise self-employed facing the prospect of losing income whilst performing their civil duty!
If the summons to jury duty has already arrived and there’s nobody else in the business that can cover for you, you might decide to reschedule appointments and undertake what work you can in the evenings or during breaks.
It may also help to contact your clients and warn them that there may be delays, or that you might be out of contact for hours at a time whilst the court is sitting.
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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.