Overview of process for a jury trial
Before responding to your summons, please read all the documents included in the summons package.
We’re aware of a jury duty phishing scam. Please note BC Government staff would not threaten legal action or ask for your Social Insurance Number.
The following is a brief overview of the process of a jury trial, with links to pages with more detail.
- When an accused person elects a trial by jury, a random group of potential jurors are identified, and summons are mailed to those prospective jurors (jury panelists).
- Prospective jurors respond to a summons by email or eResponse and attend the jury selection with other jury panelists.
- The jury selection hearing takes place in a courtroom with the judge, parties to the matter, counsel, sheriffs and jury panelists.
- During selection, summons numbers are randomly drawn, and the prospective jurors step forward. Counsel either accepts (content) or rejects (challenge) each panelist until the jury is selected.
- During this selection process, jury panelists can ask the judge for an exemption from jury duty (if not previously granted by sheriffs).
- Once the jury is selected, trial may begin immediately. In some situations, there may be a delay of several days between jury selection and the trial start date.
- In the first couple days of trial, the jury will be asked to select a foreperson. This member of the jury will be responsible for speaking on behalf of the jury whenever the court addresses them.
- The jury will have evidence presented to them as exhibits (documents, photos, videos other tangible items), witness or expert testimony and legal arguments from counsel.
- Once all evidence is entered in court, the parties will provide a summary of their facts and opinions. The judge will address the jury and confirm the charges or summarize the issues the jury will need to decide on, based on the evidence and the law.
- The jury will be sequestered (isolated) to begin deliberation, during which time they will collaboratively discuss the evidence, how it relates to the charges or claims before the court and the applicable laws.
- Once the jury has come to a decision (verdict), they will inform the court via the jury foreperson.
- Once the verdict is read into the court record, the judge may adjourn the matter for a separate sentencing hearing or proceed to sentencing immediately.
- The jury will be dismissed once the verdict is read.