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In the Northern Territory, persons charged with serious offences are tried by a Judge and jury in the Supreme Court. This ensures every person accused of a serious crime receives a fair trial, free from government or political influence.
It ensures that members of the public participate in the administration of justice. Jury service may involve some temporary inconvenience to those chosen (by ballot) to serve, but it is essential to the maintenance of individual freedom and security.
In serving as a juror, you are participating in a process that has been responsible for defending the rights of British and Australian citizens for hundreds of years.
If you are seeking an exemption from jury service you will need to fill out a statutory declaration setting out the full grounds upon which the application is being made.
Medical conditions must be verified by a medical certificate. Further details are below.
Frequently asked questions
YES, subject to certain exceptions explained below. If you are not qualified to serve as a juror, are exempt from service or show sufficient cause to be excused from attending you do not have to serve as a juror. Such matters should be brought to the Sheriff’s attention as early as possible and preferably not less than 2 business days prior to the day you are required to attend.
If you do not have a good understanding of the English language, you may be excused from jury service. Please organise for someone who can speak and write English to assist you to fill out a Statutory Declaration Form or make enquiries at the Sheriff’s Office.
Se non ha una buona comprensione della lingua inglese, potrebbe essere dispensato dalla giuria. La invitiamo a rivolgersi a una persona che sappia parlare e scrivere in inglese per assisterla durante la compilazione della dichiarazione statutaria o la richiesta di informazioni all’Ufficio dello Sceriffo.
Apabila Anda tidak begitu paham bahasa Inggris, Anda mungkin akan diizinkan untuk tidak duduk sebagai juri. Silakan cari seseorang yang dapat berbicara dan menulis dalam bahasa Inggris untuk membantu Anda mengisi Statutory Declaration Form atau carilah informasi ke Kantor Sheriff.
Se não possui um conhecimento aprofundado da Língua Inglesa, pode estar isento do serviço de jurado. Procure alguém que fale e escreva Inglês correctamente para o ajudar a preencher um Formulário de Declaração sob Juramento ou procure saber mais informações no Sheriff’s Office.
(Juries act S10)
A person who falls under one or more of the following categories is not qualified to serve as a juror:
- is of unsound mind, in a hospital or approved treatment facility or undergoing treatment under the Mental Health & Related Services Act;
- is a protected person within the meaning of the Aged and Inform Persons’ Property Act;
- is unable to read, write and speak the English language;
- has been sentenced to a term of life imprisonment;
- has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment and has not completed the sentence, is on parole or a period of less than 7 years has elapsed since the sentence was completed;
- is a person in respect of whom an order under s 15 of the Adult Guardianship Act is in force;
- is a person who does not reside within the jury district for Darwin, comprising the area of land in the divisions of Port Darwin, Fannie Bay, Brennan, Nightcliff, Millner, Johnston, Sanderson, Casuarina, Wanguri, Karama, Drysdale, Blain and Nelson (Juries Act S12, Reg 4); or does not reside within the jury district for Alice Springs, comprising the area of land in the municipality of Alice Springs is not qualified to serve as a juror (Juries Act S12, Reg 5).
(Juries Act S11, Sch 7).
A person who falls under one or more of the following categories is exempt from serving as a juror:
- is blind, deaf or dumb or otherwise incapacitated by disease or infirmity from discharging the duties of a juror;
- is the Administrator, the Administrator’s official secretary or the secretary of the Executive Council;
- Currently holds, or has within the previous 10 years held, a judicial office or is the spouse of a Judge;
- is a member of the Legislative Assembly; is the Ombudsman, or an employee within the meaning of the Public Sector Employment and Management Act who is employed in the Office of the Ombudsman;
- is a person regularly employed on duties on board aircraft used in aerial ambulance services;
- is a practising legal practitioner or an articled clerk of a practising legal practitioner;
- is a clergyman in holy orders, a priest of the Roman Catholic faith, a minister of religion having an established congregation, a monk, nun or other vowed member of a religious community; is a practising dentist or dental specialist registered under the Dental Act;
- is a practising medical practitioner;
- is a member or secretary of the Parole Board or a parole officer within the meaning of the Parole of Prisoners act;
- is a member of the Police Force of the Northern Territory;
- is an officer within the meaning of the Prisons (Correctional Services) Act;
- is an employee as defined in the Public Sector Employment and Management Act who is employed in an Agency primarily responsible for law and the administration of justice, prisons and correctional services or the administration of courts or who is under the direct control of the Commissioner of Police is a person employed by the Legal Aid Commission within the meaning of the Legal Aid Act;
- is a person who is not liable to serve as a juror by virtue of, or who is exempted from service as a juror under, the Jury Exemption Act 1965 of the Commonwealth
(Juries Act, S15)
You may apply to be excused from service for sufficient cause. Approvals for release from jury duty are however, granted sparingly by the Court and only in the case of ill health and matters of special urgency or importance. You may be excused from jury service if you have served as a juror within the preceding 3 years.
Depending on the circumstances, you may be excused for a specified period of time or, as a condition of being excused, it may be ordered that your name be included amongst the names of jurors to be summoned for jury service at a subsequent time (Juries Act S15, 17A). Note: If you have received a jury summons, you will not be excused from attending in any circumstances unless you have been excused from attending upon notice from the Sheriff (Juries Act S15, 18AB).
An application must be made by Statutory Declaration DOC (32.0 kb). The Statutory Declaration should be completed as soon as possible after receipt of the jury summons and must set out the full grounds upon which the application is made. Medical conditions must be verified by a medical certificate.
Darwin jurors should forward the Statutory Declaration without delay to The Sheriff, GPO Box 3946, Darwin NT 0801 or personally deliver it to the Office of the Sheriff, Supreme Court, State Square, Darwin (by Parliament House).
Alice Springs jurors should forward the Statutory Declaration without delay to The Deputy Sheriff, GPO Box 2134, Alice Springs NT 0871 or personally deliver it to the front office at the Supreme Court Building, 14 Parsons Street, Alice Springs).
The Sheriff will notify potential jurors by telephone of the result of any application to be excused prior to the date they are first required to attend for jury service.
There are further contact details for the Sheriff here.
Darwin jurors are to assemble in the Jury Muster Room which is situated on the Ground Level, inside the front entrance of the Supreme Court, on the left, just past the Information Desk. Jurors are required to attend by 9.00am.
Alice Springs jurors are to assemble at the Supreme Court Building, 14 Parsons Street, Alice Springs at 9.00am.
Normally 10.00am to 4.30pm with a luncheon adjournment from approximately 12.30 to 2.00pm. Short breaks are taken in the morning and afternoon. Occasionally sittings may extend beyond the hours mentioned. Until a jury retires to consider its verdict, jurors are free to return home at night unless the Judge directs that the jury be kept together (this very rarely happens). Once the jury retires to consider its verdict it is not uncommon for the jury to be kept together until the verdict is delivered.
Sittings usually extend from one to six weeks. Jurors MAY NOT be required to attend on the date given in the jury summons. Jurors should phone the Free-call Jury Information number on either the morning of required attendance or after 5:00pm the working day prior for the latest information.
- Darwin Panel A, 1800 657 600; Panel B, 1800 657 511;
- Alice Springs Panel A, 1800 064 619
If a juror attends and is not selected by ballot to sit at the first trial, the juror will usually be excused from attendance until the date of commencement of the next trial. The Judge always specifies the date and time when jurors must re-attend.
Persons summoned to attend for jury service should ascertain whether they will be paid by their employer and/or if they will be required to use leave entitlements by reason of attending for jury service. Employees who continue to receive ordinary pay or who have no deduction from leave entitlements are ineligible for payment. The payment for attending for jury service is as follows:
- Attendance without selection - $20.20 per day,
- Attendance as a selected juror on a trial of 9 days * duration or less - $60.60 per day
- Attendance as a selected juror on a trial of 10 days * or more duration - $121.20 per day
- If it is proved to the satisfaction of the Sheriff that as a result of attendance on a day, or part day, a juror has suffered financial loss the juror is entitled to receive an additional amount for that attendance of up to:
- $30.30 per day if the person serves as a juror on a * trial; or
- $20.20 per day in any other case
In order to receive payment, a “Request for Payment” Form must be completed and given to the Sheriff at the commencement of the sittings. Jurors must include their bank account details in order to receive payment by direct deposit at the end of the sittings which can be 4-6 weeks.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has information on their website concerning payments to jurors, including the rights and responsibilities of employers.
Lunch is provided to jurors engaged in a trial. If a jury is late considering its verdict, an evening meal is brought to the jury room.
Limited parking facilities are provided in Darwin – please refer to the map in this publication for the exact location. Parking facilities are not provided in Alice Springs.
None. Jurors must not undertake any research or preparation for service as a juror. The jury decides the facts on the evidence which is given during the trial. The Judge directs the jury as to the law applicable. Jurors require no special knowledge or education. They must adequately understand the English language.
Jurors should ensure they are neatly dressed and wear suitable footwear. A light cardigan or jacket is advisable.
Jurors should make alternative business and domestic arrangements to cover themselves in the event of being selected in the ballot to serve on a jury. Any further questions relating to jury service should be directed to the Sheriff of the Supreme Court, at Darwin on (08) 8999 7930 or at Alice Springs on (08) 8951 5711. The Supreme Court of the Northern Territory website may be viewed at www.supremecourt.nt.gov.au
If you have any questions relating to counselling you can contact the Sheriff of the Northern Territory on (08) 8999 6566. The Sheriff will advise you of the available services and establish what assistance is required.
The Supreme Court publishes reasons for sentencing convicted persons on the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory website. Click here to view sentencing remarks.