Jury selection

The jury selection process (also called a jury panel) happens on the date, time and courthouse listed on your jury summons.

The jury selection hearing is held to select jury members from the group of people who received a summons (jury panelists).

A separate selection process takes place for each jury trial, and several juries may be selected in one day. The jury selection process can take anywhere from half a day to a full day.

There are two types of trials jury panelists may be called for – criminal and civil. The differences between the two trials are found below.

  Criminal Civil
What kinds of matters are tried? Any serious (indictable) charge such as: theft, mischief, assault, sexual assault, murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault, bank robbery and drug cases. A dispute between two parties such as breach of contract, property ownership, damages to property or personal injury.
Number of jurors selected Twelve, occasionally fourteen to include two alternate jurors. Eight.
Others present in courtroom Judge, court clerk, accused, defence counsel, Crown counsel (prosecution), sheriffs. Witnesses, media and members of the public may be seated in the gallery. Judge, court clerk, plaintiff, defendant, sheriffs. The plaintiff and defendant may have counsel with them. Witnesses, media and members of the public may be seated in the gallery.
After jury selection hearing the trial starts: Typically, the next court day, depending on scheduling. Same day.*

If you’re summonsed for a civil trial, be prepared to spend the entire day at the courthouse.