Jury Trials Post COVID-19 – Is it time to review fair pay for jurors?

August 11, 2020, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

Our justice system has prided itself in offering trial by jury which in theory offers a decision made in part by a group of individuals presumably drawn from the general population. We know that jury duty for which most of us are called at least once in our lifetimes, is not popular. Even being called to selection involves disruption to daily life, can involve time off work unpaid, travel time, day care issues for people with young children, and loss of income for the self employed.

If selected for duty the issues are compounded. In reality most juries are not representative of the population as a whole because people with young children, the self employed, the disabled, the elderly, those having to travel too far (rural residents), single parents, and many others are immediately dismissed from jury duty.

Jury duty is not popular. If you are selected to serve you will be expected to forfeit part of your daily life to participate in the process of judging an individual and helping determine their future. According to the Canadian Juries Commission people would rather give blood than serve on a jury and in fact the same study reported that Canadians only rated one thing worse than jury duty – volunteering at a hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not withstanding these issues, jury duty pay (officially and honorarium) remains unrealistically low.

  • Days 1-10 no pay
  • Days 11-49 $40/day
  • Days 50 - $100/day

There is no wonder that so many people seek to be excused from duty due to economic reasons. Few employers are willing to compensate an employee who is gone from work indefinitely. Generally, only those in union positions have the luxury of a steady income stream during jury duty. An increase to the pay amount was recommended two years ago with a view to shift the honorarium to an income replacement. The Canadian Juries Commission asked provincial and territorial governments to at least increase the amount of compensation to minimum wage.

As the pandemic subsides people will begin to receive their summons again soon and in light of the increased health risks involved with the courtroom process for jurors there will be even less enthusiasm to serve.

It is time to overhaul this system to allow more people the realistic option of participating on juries. Without this the justice system will suffer.

Posted under Accident Benefit News

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About Deutschmann Law

Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

It is important that you review your accident benefit file with one of our experienced personal injury / car accident lawyers to ensure that you obtain access to all your benefits which include, but are limited to, things like physiotherapy, income replacement benefits, vocational retraining and home modifications.

Practice Areas

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