How the self-employed can successfully manage a call-up for jury service

For many freelancers, contractors and self-employed professionals getting called up for jury service is a worry due to the impact it could potentially have on their business and finances.

jury service in court

In this article, Markel Direct explain how self-employed professionals can successfully manage a call-up for jury service, including your obligations, how to manage your time away and what expenses you can claim for.

What does jury service involve?

If you are called-up for jury service, you will sit on a trial as a juror, usually for 10 working days. If a trial takes longer than anticipated to be resolved, the 10 days may be extended. There’s also a possibility of sitting as a juror for more than one trial during jury service.

In some cases, jurors are not required to sit in trials for the whole 10 days. You may also be waiting two or three days before being called to sit in your first trial. Usually, your jury service will be as near as is possible to your home.

When you receive your summons for jury service, you a required to return the form within 7 days. If you don’t return it within this period, or if you don’t turn up to the jury service, you could risk being fined up to £1,000.

Is jury service optional?

Unless you have a valid reason to postpone your jury service dates or a valid reason to be excluded (explained below), if you are sent a summons, you must attend jury service.

A valid reason for deferring your jury service could include having a holiday, having an operation or your employer cannot give you the time off work.

 For someone who is employed or under contract, their employer must let them attend jury service although they can ask them to delay the jury service if their absence could have a significant impact on the company. Jury service may be deferred once only.

Reasons for being excused from jury service

There are some cases where an individual does not have to attend jury service. Reasons to be excused could include:

  • It being detrimental to your services in the armed forces
  • It impacting your duties as a carer
  • Someone being unable to speak and/or understand English.

You can find out more about deferring and being excused from jury service here on GOV.UK.

How can self-employed freelancers, contractors and consultants prepare for jury service?

If you’re self-employed, the time away from your business as well as the lack of access to your mobile phone or laptop throughout the day, can have a significant impact on being able to run your business.

If the situation does arise where you’re called for jury service, firstly you will need to contact your clients and inform them of what’s happening so that they can expect a delay in the delivery of their project.

If you have a small business with employees, passing tasks to your staff in your absence may be an option. You can then complete the rest of the workload in the evenings or at weekends.

Another option would be to hire temporary staff for the time that you’re away.

Will I be paid for doing jury service?

Contractors rely on their daily or hourly rate of pay, so needing to take time away to attend jury service could mean a significant shortfall in revenue.

IPSE Standard and Plus members are protected by our jury service cover. Standard members are able to claim up to £1500 and Plus members are able to claim up to £5000 if they are working on a contract and get called up for jury service, based on their day rate as per the contract.

While you won’t be paid for doing jury service, you can claim some expenses, including:

  • Travel and parking costs
  • Food and drink
  • A contribution to loss of earnings and other expenses

Travel and parking costs

How you travel to court

The court will pay

Bus or underground

Cost of the ticket


Cost of the ticket (standard class   return fare)


9.6p per mile


31.4p per mile


31.4p per mile – ask the court for   permission if you need to pay for parking

Car – for one other juror as a   passenger

4.2p per mile

Car – for each additional passenger

3.2p per mile


The fare – ask the court for   permission before using a taxi

Food and drink

Length of time each   day you’re away from home or work

The court will pay up to

Up   to and including 10 hours a day

£5.71   per day

Over   10 hours a day

£12.17   per day

Loss of earnings and other expenses

This includes the cost of employing a child-minder or carer, if outside your usual care arrangements.

Length of jury service

Time spent each day

Maximum daily amount you can claim

First 10 days

4 hours or under


First 10 days

Over 4 hours


From Day 11 onwards

4 hours or under


From Day 11 onwards

Over 4 hours


Before any expenses are paid out, you will need to provide evidence of the loss of earnings.


The court will arrange accommodation if you are asked to stay overnight.

Around 33,000 people are called up to jury service a year, and when you’re self-employed that can mean losing income. That’s why IPSE compensates members with up to £5,000 if you are working on a contract and get called up for jury service, based on your day rate as per the contract. If the contract you are working on at the time is completed via an umbrella company, you can be compensated up to £2,500.

Learn more about IPSE's jury service cover.

As an IPSE member, you can also enjoy a 10% discount* on professional indemnity insurance from Markel Direct. Get a quote here.

*IPSE 10% member discount terms and conditions

The discount will be applied to the net policy premium before insurance premium tax is applied. All quotations provided will be subject to meeting underwriting and claims criteria acceptance. All cover will be subject to full policy terms and conditions which are available upon request.

Markel Direct

IPSE have partnered with Markel Direct, a specialist insurer of contractors, freelancers, self-employed professionals and micro-businesses to offer a 10% discount* on contractor insurance to IPSE members.

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