PDF brochure - English - Français
This section provides information about the jury selection process for both criminal and civil cases. On the jury selection day, a jury will be chosen for each trial scheduled for that month. The selection process will vary depending on whether it is for a criminal or civil case. The type of trial is indicated on the summons.
Usually the selection process takes a full morning, but be prepared to spend the entire day at the courthouse. No fees are paid for attending the panel selection only. If you are selected as a juror, the sheriff will provide you with instructions. You may then be dismissed until the day the trial is to begin or you may start your duty as a juror that day.
Jury selection for criminal trials are attended by persons accused of an offence(s), defence counsel (the lawyer representing the accused), Crown counsel (the lawyer who prosecutes the trial) and court staff. Twelve jurors are chosen for each criminal trial.
The court clerk will read the charges and ask the accused to plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” If the accused pleads not guilty, the trial begins with the selection of the jury. You will be told when the trial will be held and how long it is expected to last. The clerk of the court begins the selection process by drawing names from a box at random until 15 to 20 people have been called forward. If your name is called, answer “here” and move to the front of the court as directed by the sheriff.
Next, one of three things can happen:
- Both defence and Crown counsel have the right to challenge a prospective juror. This means, for whatever reason, they do not wish to have you sit as a juror on that trial. If your selection is challenged, return to your seat. Your name will be re-entered into the box and you may be re-called again later.
- Both counsel may consent to you serving as a juror. Once accepted, you will be sworn in by the clerk and take a seat in the jury box.
- You may be asked to stand aside. No explanation is given. Once asked to stand aside, you must wait until the 12 jurors are selected and then you may return to your seat.
When 12 jurors have been chosen and sworn in or affirmed, the trial is adjourned and the jury is led out of the courtroom.
Jury selection for civil trials is much the same as for criminal trials. However, there are some key differences. Civil trials resolve disputes between the plaintiff (the party that initiated the action) and the defendant (the party that the action is against). Both parties are represented at the jury section.
Only eight jurors are selected civil trials and these trials usually begin the same day the jury is chosen. If you are summonsed for a civil trial, be prepared to spend the entire day at the courthouse.
Still have quesitons? See Frequently Asked Questions.