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Age limit for jurors to rise to 75

16th Nov 2016

Pensioners will be liable for jury service until the age of 75 from December 1st, a result of improved life expectancy.

The rise in the upper age limit for jurors, which is currently the age of 70, will enable more people in retirement to participate in their civic duty and spread the load of the jury system.

About 178,000 people between the ages of 18 and 70 in England and Wales do jury service each year. Another 3 million people will be added to the available pool of jurors by raising the age limit; up to 6,000 older pensioners are likely to be called to sit on a jury each year.

Anyone selected for jury service may apply to be excused if they feel incapable of carrying out their duties. This is the first change to jury ages since 1988, when it was raised from 65 to 70.

The justice minister, Sir Oliver Heald QC, said that “Trial by jury is a fundamental part of our world-leading justice system and it is important that our juries reflect today’s society. People are living longer, healthier lives, so it is right that our courts are able to benefit from the wisdom and experience that older people can offer.”

Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of older people’s charity Anchor, stated: “Older people already contribute a great deal to society and represent an integral part of any local community. The knowledge and experience of older people is invaluable, and I’m pleased that more will now be able to share their wisdom by contributing to the criminal justice system.”

Sarah Rochira, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, also contributed to the discussion, noting that “This positive step will help to challenge negative assumptions about older people and will mean they can make an even greater contribution to society. I have no doubt that our court system will benefit greatly from the wealth of knowledge and experience they will offer.”