Jury duty: How to Elle Woods

A pink letter arriving through the door meant that I had been summoned to court. I had been summoned to perform my civic duty. I am sure I am one of the few to admit to this but for me, this was the moment I had been waiting for. The moment that I would fulfil all my crime novel based dreams and get the ins and outs of a true criminal case without the slurs of the daily mail to accompany them.

My first two panics that were not gracefully greeted in the jury welcome pack were what do I wear and what do I bring? After careful consideration, I opted for black chiffon culottes and a grey tee with black leather slip ons and a bag big enough to fit in the jury summons letter, books, my laptop, endless snacks and some toiletries. This turned out to be appropriate. Most people do opt for smart casual although this proved difficult when we suffered a heat wave in the second week.

As you walk in through tight security measures you join around 100 other jurors in a jury waiting room reminiscent of an airport. After tales of days and weeks of waiting around I was not comforted by the girl next to me informing me she was on her second week and still no trial. Wifi was £10 a day which seemed a harsh way to make money from the already disgruntled people desperate not to fall too far behind in their jobs. After around 20 minutes of reading my book the first set of jurors were called and to my surprise, my name was called. Around 20 of us headed down to court, it was smaller than I imagined but all the same the wigs and general atmosphere did not disappoint.

The whole process was very quick and before I knew it I was being sworn in with around 8 other jurors being sent away. They give the defence an opportunity to essentially ‘veto’ any jurors so they keep 8 extra on standby. Pretty quickly, the case was underway. We had several bumps in the road or court disruptions which meant we were sat around waiting but we never knew when this would be and it was never long enough to get anything substantial done. The case fascinated my fellow jurors and I. We were left confused right up until the very end. It went on for 2 weeks and 1 day, the final day being our prolonged deliberations.

What to bring?


A book
Any work bits
Hand sanitiser
A jumper
Pen and paper
Any toiletries to freshen up
Your jury summons

What to wear?

Karen Millen, on sale

Smart casual
Layer up and wear comfortable clothes for sitting for long periods of time.

What to expect?

I do not think it would be a stretch by any means to say I found the experience completely outlook altering. Nothing can prepare you for the amount of responsibility you will feel when you are holding someone’s life in your hands. Your decision and the decision of your fellow jurors quite literal changes another person’s life. None of you are qualified for the job in the way a judge is and yet you have the power to adhere to your judgements and morals and make a decision. I had the incredibly difficult feat of being the only person on my jury to feel the way that I did. I had to stand my ground and trust my own instincts whilst under pressure. Learning about crime in such a way is eye-opening. It is difficult to comprehend the madness that goes on in the rest of the world. You will find yourself sucked into the story as if it is a film but often it is happening on your doorstep. My particular case was surrounding drug supply and seeing the effects of the demand for drugs on people who are forced to be part of the chain of supply was harrowing.

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