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Can one refuse to be a jury in a court of assizes?

Verified 05 November 2020 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

You may refuse to be a jury member in a criminal court only if serious difficulties prevent you from doing so. If you are in one of these cases, you must apply for an exemption. If you sit on the Court of Assisi, you will receive compensation to cover your loss of income and expenses for travel, living and meals.

If your name is drawn by lot the lists of electors to be sworn at a court of assize, you cannot refuse to sit.

The absence of a juror on the day of the hearing without a legitimate reason is punishable by a fine of €3,750..

If you are an employee, your employer is obliged to release you so that you can sit in the court of assizes.

However, you can apply for an exemption if you are in one of the following situations:

  • You're over 70
  • You no longer have a principal residence in the department of the court of assizes
  • You encounter difficulties that prevent you from being present (serious illness, or illness of a child, deafness, etc.)

The request for an exemption must be made in writing to the Registry of the Court of Assisi before 1to September of the year. Otherwise, you must show up on 1to day of the sitting.

The commission which considers applications for exemption shall verify the seriousness of the reasons and the facts relied on. You must therefore attach the supporting documents of the elements invoked in support of your application.

If you sit in the court of assizes, you will receive allowances to cover your lost income and your travel, living and meal expenses.