This is an official version.
Copyright © 2016: Queens Printer,
SNL1991 CHAPTER 16
JURY ACT, 1991
1992 c52 s6 (to be proclaimed - this amendment does not form part of this consolidation); 1995 c31; 1996 c24; 1998 c6 s17; 1999 c13; 1999 c22 s15; 2001 c42 s25; 2001 cN-3.1 s2; 2002 cI-0.1 s59; 2004 c35; 2006 c40 s21; 2009 c31 s9; 2011 cC-37.00001 s50 (not in force - therefore not included here); 2012 c22 ss5 & 6; 2016 cM-5.01 s59
AN ACT TO REVISE AND CONSOLIDATE THE LAW RESPECTING JURIES
(Assented to May 31, 1991)
1. This Act may be cited as the Jury Act, 1991 .
2. In this Act
(a) "court" means the Supreme Court;
(b) "judge" means a judge of the court;
(c) "justice" means a person appointed as a justice of the peace under the Justices Act ;
(d) "minister" means the minister appointed under the Executive Council Act to administer this Act;
(e) "prescribed" means prescribed by regulations made under this Act;
(f) "rules" means the Rules of the Supreme Court, 1986;
"sheriff" means the High Sheriff of Newfoundland and
(h) "sitting" means a sitting of the court for the trial of civil or criminal cases and includes the hearing of a single trial; and
(i) "supervising enumerator" means the person appointed under section 11 to supervise the enumeration of the jury list.
3. This Act shall be read as one with the Judicature Act.
4. Every person who is a Canadian citizen resident in the province and is of the age of 18 has the right and duty to serve as a juror unless he or she is disqualified or exempted under this Act.
5. A person is disqualified from serving as a juror who is
(a) a member, an officer, or employee of the Parliament of Canada or of the Privy Council of Canada;
(b) a member, an officer or employee of the House of Assembly or of the Executive Council of the province;
a judge of the court or the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and
(d) an officer or employee of the Department of Justice or of the Solicitor-General of the Government of Canada;
(e) an officer or employee of the Department of Justice of the government of the province;
(f) a barrister or solicitor;
(g) a court official;
(h) a sheriff or sheriff's officer;
(i) a member of a police force;
(j) a justice;
(k) a warden, correctional officer or person employed in a penitentiary, prison or correctional institution;
(l) a spouse of a person referred to in paragraphs (a) to (k);
(m) a person charged with an indictable offence; or
(n) a person who has within 5 years of the taking of the jury list, unless sooner pardoned, served a period of imprisonment or other detention for an indictable offence without the option of a fine.
6. Where the language in which a trial is to be conducted is one that a person is unable to understand or speak, he or she is disqualified from serving as a juror in the trial.
Grounds for exemption
7. (1) A person may apply to be exempted from serving as a juror on the grounds that serving as a juror may cause serious hardship or loss to that person or to others.
(2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), service as a juror shall be considered to cause serious hardship to a person where a person has the sole care during all or part of a day on which the court is in session of
(a) a person who is under the age of 7 years and not in full time attendance at a school as defined by the Schools Act ;
(b) a person who is infirm or aged; or
(c) a person who is mentally incompetent.
8. Where a person's pastoral or religious duties or beliefs would conflict with his or her service as a juror, that person shall, on application, be exempted from serving as a juror.
9. A person who is
(a) over the age of 65 years
(b) mentally or physically incapacitated; or
(c) suffering from an illness which may reasonably be expected to be permanent
shall, on application, be exempted permanently from serving as a juror.
(2) A person who makes an application under paragraph (1)(b) or (c) to be exempted permanently from serving as a juror shall provide a letter from a person licensed to practise medicine in the province certifying his or her mental or physical incapacity or that his or her illness may reasonably be expected to be permanent.
One member of family or firm
10. (1) No more than 1 member of a family unit and no more than 1 member or employee of a firm shall be liable to serve on a jury at a sitting.
(2) In subsection (1)
(a) "family unit" includes 2 persons who are spouses of one another and a relative of one of the spouses residing in the same dwelling; and
(b) "firm" means a person or association of persons carrying on a business or activity employing more than 1 and fewer than 15 persons.
Enumeration for jury list
11. (1) The sheriff, or other person designated by the minister, shall, where directed to do so by the minister, compile a list of the names and addresses and other prescribed information of all persons eligible for jury duty living within 25 kilometres of each place where there may be a sitting.
(2) The minister may, by order, vary the boundaries of an area for which a jury list may be prepared under subsection (1).
(3) The sheriff, or other person designated by the minister under subsection (1), shall be the supervising enumerator and may designate a person to carry out his or her duties as supervising enumerator.
(4) The jury list compiled under subsection (1) may be selected from
(a) the most recent list of electors compiled by the Chief Electoral Officer under the Elections Act, 1991 ;
(b) the records compiled by the Motor Registration Division of persons who have been issued drivers’ licences, or motor vehicle licenses under the Highway Traffic Act ;
(c) the names, addresses and dates of birth of beneficiaries under the Medical Care and Hospital Insurance Act , but no other information respecting beneficiaries shall be provided; and
(d) those other sources that the Lieutenant-Governor in Council may prescribe.
(5) Notwithstanding subsection (4), where a trial is held in the French language, the supervising enumerator may obtain the names and addresses of prospective jurors from alternative sources that may be prescribed for that purpose.
(6) An enumeration carried out and a jury list compiled from it is considered to have been validly carried out and compiled notwithstanding a defect in the enumeration or compilation.
12. The supervising enumerator may employ enumerators to prepare a jury list in accordance with section 11 for each place where there may be a sitting.
Preparation of jury list
13. (1) The jury list shall be prepared in the manner and shall state the information required by the regulations.
(2) The supervising enumerator shall supervise the arrangement of the jury list in alphabetical order and where requested the issuing of separate cards for each person on the jury list.
Open to public
14. The jury list shall be available for public inspection in the office of the supervising enumerator.
15. Where a jury list is not or may not be available at a place for a sitting, the minister may direct that a special jury list be taken by the supervising enumerator or another person designated by the minister, during a period fixed by the minister.
16. (1) The supervising enumerator shall sit daily, except on Saturday and Sunday, to revise the jury list for a period of 10 days commencing on the day following the last day of the taking of the jury list.
(2) The supervising enumerator shall give notice of the place where the revision of the jury list will take place and the days and hours in each day when the supervising enumerator will sit.
(3) A notice given under subsection (2) shall be published by the supervising enumerator in 1 or more newspapers of general circulation in the area from which the jury list has been taken, or if no newspaper is circulated in that area, by posting the notice on the doors of the court house or other public building in the area.
(4) The supervising enumerator at the revision
(a) shall include on the jury list the names of persons qualified to serve as jurors whose names do not appear on the jury list, upon the application of those persons; and
(b) shall take the names of persons not qualified to serve as jurors off the jury list upon the application of those persons.
Return of list
17. The supervising enumerator, where the supervising enumerator is a person other than the sheriff, shall return the revised list to the sheriff as soon as practicable following the completion of the enumeration.
18. (1) Notwithstanding section 11, where a judge has fixed times and places for sittings for the hearing of criminal trials with a jury, the sheriff, upon receipt of a certified copy of the order fixing those times and places shall, at least 15 days before the commencement of a sitting referred to in the order, empanel the number of jurors for the cases that may be heard during the sitting.
(2) A single jury list may be established to serve a single sitting of the court or 2 or more simultaneous sittings of that court.
(3) A jury selected for a trial shall, for the duration of that trial, be subject to the presiding judge.
(4) In addition to the sittings referred to in subsection (1), a judge may by order fix a date for a criminal trial to be heard before a judge and jury and the sheriff shall, upon receipt of a certified copy of that order, empanel a sufficient number of jurors.
Limit on times jurors may serve
19. (1) Jurors are not liable to serve on a jury more than once every 3 years.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), where more jurors are required than there are jurors remaining on the list, those jurors under subsection (1) are eligible to serve as jurors.
Drawing of panel
20. (1) A party who has obtained an order for a jury in a civil cause or has requested a jury under subsection 32(1) shall arrange for an appointment with the sheriff to draw the jury.
(2) The party referred to in subsection (1) shall serve a copy of the appointment and the order on the opposite party at least 1 day before the day appointed for the drawing of the jury.
(3) At the time appointed for the drawing of the jury, the sheriff shall, in the presence of the parties who may attend, select, by a method which ensures that the names are selected at random, 30 names from the jury list who shall form the jury panel.
(4) Where a party arranges an appointment to draw a jury under subsection (1), that party may, in addition to the names drawn under subsection (3), request an additional 15 names be drawn to form the jury panel.
Payment for civil jury trials
21. (1) Where a judge orders a jury trial under section 32, the party at whose request the order is made shall file that order with the sheriff.
(2) Unless otherwise ordered by a judge acting under section 32, the party who has filed an order under subsection (1) shall, when filing that order, deposit with the sheriff sufficient money to pay the jury expenses and if that money is not sufficient, that party shall, on demand, pay further money which the sheriff requires.
(3) If the party depositing money under subsection (2) obtains a judgement against another party in the proceedings, the money paid out by the sheriff for jury expenses unless otherwise ordered, shall be allowed and taxed against that other party.
(4) Surplus money that remains following the final payment of expenses shall be returned to the party who made the deposit, with interest calculated from the date of that original deposit of money and in accordance with the Judgement Interest Act .
22. (1) The persons selected for the jury panel shall be summoned to appear by the sheriff in the form set out in the rules, at least 7 days before the trial of the cause.
(2) The summons shall be served upon each prospective juror personally or left for that juror at his or her usual residence or place of business by
(a) leaving the summons with a person at that usual residence, or
(b) leaving the summons with an employee at that business,
where that person or that employee appears to be at least 16 years of age, or
(c) the summons shall be served by ordinary mail.
(3) The summons referred to in subsection (2) shall also include a notice, in a prescribed form, indicating the manner of applying for exemption as a juror.
Application for exemption
23. (1) A person summoned as a juror who is not qualified to serve or wishes to apply to be exempted under section 7, 8 or 9 may apply to be disqualified or exempted from service or may have an application made on his or her behalf by ordinary mail addressed to the sheriff or the deputy sheriff in the area where that person resides and the sheriff or the deputy sheriff may make that determination.
(2) A person who claims an exemption under section 9 shall provide proof of age satisfactory to the sheriff or the deputy sheriff.
(3) A person who applies under subsection (1) and is refused an exemption or disqualification by the sheriff or the deputy sheriff may appeal that determination by application to a judge in chambers who may make a decision summarily as to whether that person is exempt or disqualified from jury duty.
(4) Where a person summoned as a juror appears before the court for jury duty at that time but wishes to be exempted or disqualified from service, the presiding judge may make a decision summarily as to whether that person is exempt or disqualified from jury duty.
Selection of jury
24. (1) The cards for the persons selected for the jury panel shall be put into a box in open court by the sheriff.
(2) Except for those persons who have been challenged or exempted in a civil cause or issue, the 6 persons whose names have been first drawn and are present in court are the jury to try the cause.
(3) Where a person has been selected for a jury, that person ceases to be a member of the jury list except for the purposes of the trial for which he or she is a juror.
Where insufficient number
25. (1) Where an insufficient number of jurors are available, the judge may instruct the sheriff to return sufficient persons from those persons present in the court who are not disqualified to be jurors.
(2) Where there are insufficient persons from those present in the court for the purposes of subsection (1), the judge may instruct the sheriff to return sufficient persons who are not disqualified to be jurors from the area as may be necessary.
Change in time limits
26. A judge may enlarge or abridge the time appointed for the drawing, summoning or attendance of a jury summoned to attend the court.
Irregularity in compilation
27. An irregularity in the compilation, revision or returning of a jury list is not a cause for a challenge of the jury.
Irregularity in drawing
28. An irregularity in the drawing, summoning and returning of a jury panel is subject to exception on a challenge only.
Irregularity in selection
29. No omission to observe the directions of this Act with respect to the qualifications or selection of jurors is a ground for a new trial in a civil cause.
30. Each party to a civil cause may peremptorily challenge 3 jurors.
Challenge for cause
31. The presiding judge in a civil cause may try and determine the sufficiency of a challenge for cause.
Jury in civil cause or issue
(1) In a civil cause or issue a jury consists of 6 jurors as selected under section 24 and
any 5 jurors may return a verdict or answer a question put to the jury by the judge; and
a verdict or answer given by 5 jurors has the same effect as a verdict or answer given by 6 jurors.
Notwithstanding paragraph (1)(a), 5 jurors in a civil cause or issue may return a verdict if the jury cannot agree upon a unanimous verdict after 3 hours of deliberation.
Death or incapacity of juror in civil cause or issue
31.2 Where one juror dies or becomes unable, in the opinion of the judge presiding at the trial of a civil cause or issue, to continue to serve as a juror for any reason, the presiding judge may direct that the trial proceed without that juror and a verdict or answer may be given by the remaining jurors, as long as they are unanimous.
Juries in certain actions
32. (1) In actions of defamation, malicious prosecution or false imprisonment, the plaintiff and the defendant may indicate in a certificate of readiness filed under the Rules of the Supreme Court, 1986 that he or she wishes the issues of fact tried by a judge with a jury.
(2) Upon a request made under subsection (1) a judge shall order that the issues of fact shall be tried by a judge with a jury.
(3) A judge may make an order for a trial with a jury in another cause or matter where a party makes a request in a certificate of readiness filed under the Rules of the Supreme Court, 1986 , or in manner and at those times as the court may allow.
(4) A judge who orders a trial with a jury under subsections (2) or (3) may make an order regarding the expenses of the jury in the conduct of that trial.
General and special verdict
33. (1) In the absence of a direction from the presiding judge, a jury may give either a general or special verdict.
(2) If the presiding judge directs, the jury shall give a special verdict.
Direction to jury
34. (1) A presiding judge may direct a jury to answer questions of fact stated to them by the judge instead of giving a general or special verdict, except in cases of an action for malicious prosecution or false imprisonment.
(2) The presiding judge may enter the verdict when a jury has been given a direction under subsection (1) and the verdict is considered to be of the same force and effect as if it had been given by the jury.
(3) Where the presiding judge has given a direction under subsection (1), counsel may require the presiding judge to submit to the jury questions raised during the trial that are necessary to be answered by the jury in order to have a complete determination of all matters involved in the case.
(4) If the presiding judge refuses to put to the jury questions raised under subsection (1) or (3), that refusal may be used as a ground for a new trial.
Rep. by 1999 c13 s3
35. [Rep. by 1999 c13 s3]
Judge may direct trial without jury
36. Where it appears to a judge in chambers or a judge presiding at a trial that an issue of fact should be tried or damages assessed without a jury, the judge may, in his or her discretion or upon application by a party, direct that the issue be tried or damages assessed without a jury.
Reference to jury
37. Where a matter is heard by a judge without a jury, the judge may order a cause, matter, or issue to be tried by judge with a jury.
Failure to appear
38. Where a person who has been summoned to serve as a juror fails to appear and serve, that person may be brought before the court and if, in the opinion of the judge, that person was not prevented by sickness or other reasonable cause from appearing and serving as a juror as required in the summons, that person is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to $1,000 or to a term of imprisonment of up to 6 months or to both the fine and imprisonment.
Offence if false statement
39. A person who makes a false statement in order to gain an exemption or disqualification from serving as a juror is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than $1,000 or to a term of imprisonment of not more than 6 months or to both the fine and imprisonment.
Offence and penalty
40. A person who fails to provide information when requested to do so by a person acting under this Act is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than $1,000 or to a term of imprisonment of not more than 6 months or to both the fine and imprisonment.
For the purposes of sections 42 and 43, the word "court" means the Trial Division and the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and
42. (1) An employer of a person who is
(a) summoned for jury service, or serves as a juror;
(b) required to attend upon a court as a witness in a criminal or quasi criminal case;
(c) required to attend upon an inquiry held under the Summary Proceedings Act ; or
(d) required to attend upon an inquiry established under section 2 of the Public Inquiries Act ,
shall pay that person the same wages and give him or her the same benefits in that person's absence for the purposes set out in this subsection as that person would have received if he or she had not been summoned or required to attend upon a court or inquiry.
(2) Every person who fails to comply with subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than $1,000, or in default of payment, to a term of imprisonment of not more than 3 months.
(3) In addition to a fine the court shall order the repayment of wages and the giving of benefits that the court decides are owed to the employee under subsection (1).
(4) In the case of a civil jury where an employer incurs a cost by reason of compliance with subsection (1) the presiding judge may make an appropriate order as to those costs.
43. (1) Subject to this section, section 42 and the rules, no person may be compensated for jury duty or for appearing as a witness.
(2) A person who is not in receipt of income from wages, self-employment, unemployment insurance, income or employment support or a pension, other than a pension, monthly guaranteed income supplement or spouse's allowance under the Old Age Security Act (Canada), or a pension under the Canada Pension Plan may be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund compensation for jury duty in an amount that may be prescribed including compensation for child care expenses.
(3) A juror may be paid reasonable travel and other expenses.
(4) In the case of a civil jury where a person receives compensation under subsection (2) the presiding judge may make an appropriate order as to those costs.
Cancellation of traffic ticket
43.1 (1) Where a person who has been summoned for jury duty or is serving on a jury is issued, as a result of answering the summons or serving on the jury, a parking ticket as a result of the expiry of a parking meter, the sheriff may cancel the parking ticket in a manner which the Lieutenant-Governor in Council may by regulation prescribe.
(2) A parking ticket cancelled by the sheriff under subsection (1) in keeping with the manner prescribed shall be considered to have no effect and shall not be enforced or proceeded with by the authority issuing it in a proceeding in a court or by other means.
44. The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may make regulations
(a) providing for the sources from which a jury list may be selected, the information to be obtained, the forms to be used and the manner of preparing the jury list under sections 11 and 13;
(b) providing for the terms of employment and rate of pay of supervising enumerators and enumerators;
(c) providing the form of notice to prospective jurors;
(d) providing for a rate of compensation for jurors and witnesses;
(e) providing for the forms and manner of applying for exemption or disqualification as a juror under this Act; and
(f) respecting matters necessary or advisable to carry out effectively the intent and purpose of this Act.
RSN 1970 c.106 Amdt.
45. Section 161A of the Election Act is repealed and the following is substituted:
161.1 The chief electoral officer may alter the forms in the Schedule where he or she considers it necessary to do so in order to make them conform to this Act or to the Jury Act, 1991 .
1980 c.41 Rep.
46. The Jury Act is repealed.