How is the jury pool chosen?

| 30/03/2016

Would you please investigate and dispel the myth that being listed as a registered elector does not automatically put one on the jury pool list? Those already in the jury pool are seemingly there for other reasons and often get called upon again and again, while many longtime voters have never been called.

Auntie’s answer: Despite what it may seem, it really is true that the jury pool is selected from the register of voters. The Judicial Administration website explains that the “Court Bailiff selects the jury list from the latest register of voters. The Clerk of Courts selects the panel of jurors from the jury list. A new panel is selected for each session of the courts, and it excludes anyone who has served on any of the last six panels. This is a random procedure designed to ensure impartiality and an even distribution of the duties to as many citizens as possible”.

But just to be absolutely sure, I contacted the Judicial Administration. An official there confirmed that jurors are only selected from the electoral roll and that “the names are randomly selected using our computerised software”.

You can’t really argue with technology, though, having said that, not everyone is convinced that there is not something else tipping the scales when it comes to choosing jurors. Others have noticed that it seems some people get chosen more than they randomly should. And, conversely, even a source at the courts said they knew many people who have been on the electoral roll for decades and have never been called on to be a juror.

I will not be able to offer you a concrete judgement, as it were, on your question. The selection system is set up to be random and source its jurors from only one place. Anecdotal evidence says otherwise, but the nature of that information prevents it from being definitive proof of anything.

I guess the jury is still out on this issue.


Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    My understanding is that jurors can also be pulled from General Registry but that is rarely done. This is a huge pool and if is was used more often, I believe that more people would register to vote.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Computers don’t do random.
    They do pseudo random

    • Anonymous says:

      But with a basic off the shelf Mersenne Twister random number generator having a period length of 2 to the power of 19937-1 it would probably take from now to the end for the Solar System for there to be a statistical difference between pseudo-random and true random. So either you don’t know what you are talking about or you are scaremongering.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have never been chosen either.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Auntie appears to be offering advice despite no knowledge whatsoever about the normal distribution curve by spouting off with comments like “Others have noticed that it seems some people get chosen more than they randomly should.”

  5. Anonymous says:

    Did the official really use the term ‘computerized software’? I wonder if it is the same software that randomly selects me for baggage screening at the airport 9 out of 10 times.