Juries Act

Link to law: http://nslegislature.ca/legc/statutes/juries.htm
Published: 2016-01-05

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Juries Act


amended amended 2002, c. 10, ss. 5, 6size>

An Act Respecting Juries

Short title

1This Act may be cited as the Juries Act. 1998, c. 16, s. 1.


2 (1)In this Act,

(a)"Chief Justice" means the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of NovaScotia, the judge authorized to exercise the powers and perform the duties ofthe Chief Justice or a judge designated by the Chief Justice;

(b)"civil matter" means a cause, issue or matter, other than a criminalmatter, that involves or might involve a jury and includes an assessment ofdamages;

(c)"criminal matter" means a prosecution or trial for an offence triableby a judge and jury in accordance with the Criminal Code (Canada);

(d)"judge" means a judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia;

(e)"juror" means a person sworn or affirmed as a juror pursuant tosubsection 16(3) or the Criminal Code (Canada);

(f)"jury co-ordinator" means a prothonotary or other person designatedby the prothonotary or the Executive Director, Court and Registries Division ofthe Department of Justice, to carry out the functions assigned to the juryco-ordinator pursuant to this Act;

(g)"jury district" means an area referred to in subsection (2);

(h)"jury list" means the list of names prepared pursuant to subsection7(1);

(i)"jury panel" means the persons selected pursuant to subsection 10(1);

(j)"jury panel list" means the list prepared pursuant to subsection10(1);

(k) "Minister"means the Minister of Justice;

(l) "session" includes any convening of the Supreme Court ofNova Scotia for the purpose of hearing one or more civil matters or one or morecriminal matters.

(2)Each justice centre area established pursuant to the Judicature Act, or otherarea designated by the regulations, constitutes a jury district for the purposeof this Act. 1998,c. 16, s. 2.

Qualificationsof jurors

3Subject to Section 4, every Canadian citizen residing in the Province who hasreached the age of eighteen years is qualified to serve as a juror. 1998, c. 16, s. 3.


4 Thefollowing people are disqualified from serving as a juror:

(a)the Lieutenant Governor and a member of the House of Assembly, the House ofCommons or the Senate of Canada;

(b) ajudge of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, theProvincial Court of Nova Scotia, the Family Court for the Province of NovaScotia, a justice of the peace and an officer of any court;

(c) a barristerand solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia and an articled clerk asdefined by the Barristers and Solicitors Act;

(d)every person engaged in the administration of justice, including a sheriff, awarden of a penitentiary, a superintendent or officer of a correctionalinstitution or lockup, a probation officer, a police officer, a court official,an employee of the Department of Justice or of the Solicitor General of Canada,and an employee of the Department of Justice or the Public Prosecution Serviceof the Province;

(e) aperson who has been convicted of a criminal offence for which the person wassentenced to a term of imprisonment of two years or more;

(f)a person or class of persons designated by the regulations. 1998, c. 16, s. 4; 2002, c. 10, s. 5.

Excuseand deferral

5 (1) A jury co-ordinator may, in advance of trial, excuse a personfrom service as a juror or defer a person to a later jury panel on the basis ofhardship or illness.

(2) A jury co-ordinator may, in advance of trial, defer a person to alater jury panel on the basis of inconvenience.

(3) A judge may, in advance of or at the time of the trial, excuse aperson from service as a juror or defer a person to a later jury panel on thebasis of hardship, illness or inconvenience.

(4)A judge may excuse from serving as a juror a person whom the judge determinesis unable for any reason to discharge the duties of a juror. 1998, c. 16, s. 5.

Applicationto be excused

6 (1) A person who receives a juror summons may, in advance of trial,make an application to the jury co-ordinator by using the form prescribed bythe Minister to be excused from service as a juror or deferred to a later jurypanel.

(2)Where a jury co-ordinator refuses to excuse or defer a person pursuant tosubsection 5(1) or (2), the person may apply to a judge by using the formprescribed by the Minister. 1998, c. 16, s. 6.

Preparationof jury list

7 (1) Before the end of August of each year, the jury co-ordinator foreach district shall cause to be prepared a jury list of names drawn randomlyfrom a data base that to the extent possible shall include the entirepopulation, eighteen years or older, of the jury district.

(2)The number of names on the jury list prepared pursuant to subsection (1) shallbe determined by the jury co-ordinator in consultation with a judge. 1998, c. 16, s. 7.

Availabilityof information for list

8 (1) Notwithstanding any other enactment, a person, department oragency of Government or municipality that has control or custody of a listprescribed in the regulations shall make available to the jury co-ordinator atall reasonable times such information as the jury co-ordinator requires for thepurpose of the preparation of a jury list.

(2)Where a person or body described in subsection (1) has control or custody of alist prescribed pursuant to the regulations in the form of a computer database, the person or body shall permit the jury co-ordinator to have access tothe list and shall allow the jury co-ordinator, upon request, reasonable use ofany computer equipment in the control or custody of the person or body. 1998, c. 16, s. 8.

Certificationand approval of list

9 (1)When the jury list is prepared, the jury co-ordinator shall certify it asfollows:

I hereby certify that the foregoing jury list for . . . [jury district]was prepared in accordance with the Juries Act and the names of the personsselected were chosen by random choice and the persons selected appear to me tobe qualified to serve as jurors.

(2) A judge, if satisfied that the jury list has been properlyprepared, shall approve the jury list.

(3) The judge shall order the jury co-ordinator to prepare a new jurylist under the direction of the judge if the judge does not approve the jurylist pursuant to subsection (2).

(4)A list approved by a judge shall be the jury list for the jury district until anew list is prepared and approved pursuant to this Act and shall be kept in thepossession of the jury co-ordinator until it is required for use. 1998, c. 16, s. 9.


10 (1) Before the beginning of each session or whenever a jury isrequired, the jury co-ordinator for each jury district shall randomly selectfrom the jury list the number of names determined by the jury co-ordinator inconsultation with a judge and the persons whose names are selected constitutethe jury panel.

(2) The jury panel list shall be approved by a judge.

(3) The jury co-ordinator shall mail to each person a juror summonssetting out the time and place to appear and a juror information formcontaining information regarding the grounds for disqualification and for beingexcused from serving as a juror.

(4) A summons and juror information form shall be given to a person pursuantto subsection (3) within a reasonable time before the person is to appear.

(5) The form of the juror summons and juror information form may beprescribed by the Minister in consultation with the Chief Justice.

(6) Every person who receives a juror summons and juror informationform shall accurately and truthfully complete the juror information form andreturn it forthwith upon receipt to the jury co-ordinator for the jurydistrict.

(7)Based on the information contained in the juror information form, the juryco-ordinator may remove from the jury panel list anyone who is disqualifiedfrom jury service under Section 4 and may excuse a person from serving on ajury pursuant to subsection 6(1). 1998, c. 16, s. 10; 2002, c. 10, s. 6.

Availabilityof jury panel list

11Not earlier than eight days or such longer period as is prescribed by theregulations, nor later than four days before the time to appear stated in thejuror summons, the jury co-ordinator shall make the jury panel list availablefor inspection in the office of the jury co-ordinator in the jury districtwhere the trial is to occur and the list shall be available for inspection byany person until the time stated for appearance. 1998, c. 16, s. 11.

Orderfor additional names

12 (1) Where, in the opinion of a judge, a sufficient number of personson the jury panel list will not or do not attend, the judge may make an orderdirecting the jury co-ordinator to select such additional names from the jurylist as the judge deems necessary and require the persons selected to attendforthwith or at such time as the judge directs.

(2)Notice to appear may be given by mail or personal service to a person directedto appear pursuant to subsection (1) but no period of notice is required. 1998, c. 16, s. 12.

Attendanceof panel

13 (1) The jury co-ordinator shall, on each day on which the jury panelis required to attend, determine which persons on the jury panel are presentand, where a member is not present, make an entry of that fact.

(2)The persons on the jury panel shall continue to attend until discharged by ajudge. 1998, c.16, s. 13.

Mannerof selection in criminal matters

14When a jury panel for a session is before a judge in a criminal matter, thejurors required shall be selected in the manner prescribed by the Criminal Code(Canada). 1998,c. 16, s. 14.

Mannerof selection in criminal matters

15 (1) When a jury panel for a session is before a judge in a civilmatter, the jurors required for the civil matter shall be selected in the followingmanner or such alternative manner as is prescribed by the regulations:

(a)the name of each person on the jury panel, and the person's number on the paneland name and address, shall be written on a separate card and all the cardsshall, as far as possible, be of equal size;

(b)after any disqualifications have been made or excuses granted, the juryco-ordinator shall place the cards of the persons on the jury panel who arepresent together in a box and thoroughly shake the cards together;

(c)the jury co-ordinator shall, in open court, draw out a card from the box andcall out the name and number upon the card as it is drawn, and continue drawingcards out of the box until the number of persons who have answered to theirnames are, in the opinion of the judge, sufficient to provide a full jury; and

(d) the jury co-ordinator shall continue to select persons until asufficient number of persons are selected.

(2) The jury for the trial of a civil matter shall consist of sevenpersons of whom five, after deliberating for at least four hours, may return averdict.

(3)Where a person chosen pursuant to subsection (1) is

(a)qualified to serve;

(b)not peremptorily challenged;

(c)not successfully challenged for cause on the basis of partiality; or

(d)not excused,

thejury co-ordinator shall swear that person or take an affirmation from thatperson as a member of the jury. 1998, c. 16, s. 15.


16 (1) Subject to the Civil Procedure Rules, in a civil matter the plaintiffor plaintiffs and the defendant or defendants may peremptorily challenge fourpersons chosen pursuant to subsection 15(1).

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) but subject to the Civil ProcedureRules, where there are defendants who are adverse in interest, the presidingjudge may permit each group of defendants who have a common interest toperemptorily challenge four persons chosen pursuant to subsection 15(1).

(3)Any party may challenge a person for cause and the burden is on the party tostate and establish the cause. 1998, c. 16, s. 16.

Powerto summon

17 (1) Where a full jury cannot be provided, notwithstanding compliancewith this Act, the presiding judge may order the sheriff or other officerforthwith to summon and bring before the judge as many persons, whetherqualified jurors or not, as the judge directs for the purpose of providing afull jury.

(2) Jurors may be summoned pursuant to subsection (1) by word of mouthif necessary and brought before the judge.

(3)The names of the persons who are summoned pursuant to this Section shall beadded to the jury panel for the purpose for which the panel was selected andthis Act applies as though the persons were named as members of the originaljury panel. 1998,c. 16, s. 17.

Dutyto attend

18 (1) A person required to attend a session as a juror shall continueto attend until discharged from attendance by the presiding judge.

(2) Where, during the course of a trial, the judge is satisfied that ajuror should not, because of illness or other reasonable cause, continue toserve as a juror, the judge may discharge the juror.

(3)Where a juror dies or is discharged pursuant to subsection (1) or (2), thejudge may direct the trial to proceed without the juror and the verdict of theremaining jurors is valid if the number of jurors is not reduced below six andat least five of them concur with the verdict. 1998, c. 16, s. 18.

Dutiesof jury co-ordinator

19 Thejury co-ordinator shall, on each day on which the jurors are required toattend, determine

(a)upon the opening of the court, the names of all the jurors; and

(b)upon any proceeding to be tried with a jury being called for trial, the namesof the jurors,

and,when a juror does not answer to that juror's name, make an entry of that fact. 1998, c. 16, s. 19.


20 (1) A person is entitled to such fees as are prescribed by theregulations.

(2) Thejury co-ordinator shall prepare and certify a statement containing

(a)the names of the jurors who attended the hearing;

(b)the number of days attendance and the basis for the allowance of each juror;

(c)the distance travelled by each juror; and

(d) the amount to which the juror is entitled.

(3)Unless the presiding judge otherwise orders, no juror shall be paid for any dayon which the juror does not answer when the juror's name is called in opencourt, nor for any day in which the juror does not attend by reason of thejurors having been excused from attendance. 1998, c. 16, s. 20.


21Notwithstanding any other enactment but subject to this Act, the names includedon a jury list or a jury panel list and the information provided by a person ona juror information form shall not be disclosed. 1998, c. 16, s. 21.

Effectof failing to observe certain direction

22 Afailure to observe a direction contained in this Act in respect of

(a)the disqualification or excusing of jurors;

(b)the preparation, form or revision of the jury list or the requirements inrespect of the jury list; or

(c) theselection, empaneling, notification or summoning of jurors,

isnot a ground for impeaching or quashing the verdict in any civil matter. 1998, c. 16, s. 22.

Lodgingand refreshment

23Where, during the trial of a civil matter or criminal matter, the jurors arenot allowed to separate, the jury co-ordinator shall provide lodging andrefreshment and the cost shall be paid for by the Minister. 1998, c. 16, s. 23.


24 (1)Every person preparing jury lists who

(a)knowingly places the name of a person on the jury list who is not qualified toserve;

(b)knowingly omits from a jury list the name of a person who is qualified toserve;

(c)falsely certifies or approves a jury list or jury panel; or

(d)willfully fails to perform any duty imposed by this Act,

is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a penaltyof not more than one thousand dollars.

(2)Every person who

(a) isrequired to complete and return a juror information form and, withoutreasonable excuse, fails to do so;

(b)without reasonable excuse, gives false or misleading information in a jurorinformation form or in an application to be excused from service as a juror;

(c) issummoned to attend and, without reasonable excuse, fails to obey the summons orfails to answer when called by the jury co-ordinator; or

(d)contravenes any other provision of this Act,

isguilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a penalty of not morethan one thousand dollars. 1998, c. 16, s. 24.

Powerto arrest

25Every person who is required to attend at any place by a juror summons and whofails to attend may be arrested and brought before a judge on any day that theperson is required to appear. 1998, c. 16, s. 25.

Powersof Minister's designate

26Anything required to be done by the Minister pursuant to this Act may beperformed by a person designated by the Minister. 1998, c. 16, s. 26.


27 (1)The Governor in Council may make regulations

(a)respecting the fee to be paid to a juror;

(b)designating areas for the purpose of subsection 2(2);

(c)respecting the method of paying jurors;

(d)designating persons or classes of persons to whom fees may be paid;

(e) respectingfees to be paid to a person or class of persons designated by regulation andthe method of paying those persons or classes of persons;

(f)respecting persons who may be disqualified from serving on a jury;

(g)enabling forms and information to be filed electronically;

(h)respecting lists to be made available pursuant to subsections 8(1) and (2);

(i)respecting the manner in which jurors required for a civil matter shall beselected;

(j)respecting the form of the jury list;

(k)prescribing periods of time for the purpose of Section 12;

(l)defining any word or expression used but not defined in this Act or theregulations;

(m) respecting any matter deemed necessary or advisable to carry outeffectively the intent and purpose of this Act.

(2)The exercise by the Governor in Council of the authority contained insubsection (1) is regulations within the meaning of the Regulations Act. 1998, c. 16, s. 27.


28Chapter 242 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Juries Act, is repealed. 1998, c. 16, s. 28.


29 ThisAct comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declaresby proclamation. 1998,c. 16, s. 29.

Proclaimed - June 29, 2000
In force - July 1, 2000