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Statutes of Newfoundland 1991


CHAPTER 16

AN ACT TO REVISE AND CONSOLIDATE THE LAW RESPECTING JURIES

(Assented to May 31, 1991)

Analysis

1. Short title

2. Definitions

3. Interpretation

4. Jury duty

5. Disqualifications

6. Language of difficulty

7. Grounds for exemption

8. Religious exemptions

9. Exemption for age

10. One member of family or firm

11. Enumeration of jury list

12. Enumerators

13. Preparation of jury list

14. Open to public

15. Special list

16. Revision

17. Return

18. Sitting list

19. Limit on times jurors may serve

20. Drawing of panel

21. Payment for civil jury trials

22. Jurors summoned

23. Application for exemption

24. Selection of jury

25. Where insufficient number

26. Change in time limits

27. Irregularity in compilation

28. Irregularity in drawing

29. Irregularity in selection

30. Peremptory challenge

31. Challenge for cause

32. Juries in certain actions

33. General and special verdict

34. Direction to jury

35. Verdict

36. Where inconvenient

37. Reference to jury

38. Failure to appear

39. Offence if false statement

40. Offence and penalty

41. Definition

42. Wages continue

43. No compensation

44. Regulations

45. RSN 1970 c.106 Amdt.

46. 1980 c.41 Rep.

Be it enacted by the Lieutenant-Governor and House of Assembly in Legislative Session convened, as follows:


Short title

1. This Act may be cited as the Jury Act, 1991.

Definitions

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 of Justice;

(e) "prescribed" means prescribed by regulations made under this Act;

(f) "rules" means the Rules of the Supreme Court, 1986;

(g) "sheriff" means the High Sheriff of Newfoundland;

(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.

Interpretation

3. This Act shall be read as one with The Judicature Act, 1986.

Jury duty

4. Every person who is a Canadian citizen resident in the province and is of the age of majority has the right and duty to serve as a juror unless he or she is disqualified or exempted under this Act.

Disqualifications

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;

(c) a judge of the court or the Provincial Court of Newfoundland;

(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 convicted within 5 years of the taking of the jury list of an offence for which the punishment could be a fine of $1,000 or more or imprisonment for 1 year or more; or

(n) a person charged with an offence for which the punishment could be a fine of $1,000 or more or imprisonment for 1 year or more.

Language difficulty

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.

Religious exemption

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.

Exemption for age

9. A person over the age of 65 years shall, on application, be exempted from serving as a juror.

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 a husband, wife and a relative of the husband or wife 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 of jury list

11. (1) The sheriff or other person appointed by the minister shall requisition from the chief electoral officer appointed under section 34 of The Election Act the number of names and addresses and other prescribed information which the sheriff or other person anticipates will be required for the compilation of a jury list of persons 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 chief electoral officer 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 the list of those persons enumerated on the most recent enumeration of electors prepared under section 9 of The Election Act or from alternative sources that may be prescribed.

(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.

Enumerators

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.

Special list

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.

Revision

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

17. The supervising enumerator shall return the revised jury list and the cards resulting from that jury list to the sheriff as soon as is practicable following a requisition by the sheriff or other person under subsection 11(1).

Sitting list

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 or sub-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 or sub-sheriff shall, in the presence of the parties who may attend, draw 30 names from the box 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 to 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 or sub-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 or sub-sheriff requires.

(3) If the party depositing money under subsection (2) obtains a judgment against another party in the proceedings, the money paid out by the sheriff or sub-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 Judgment Interest Act.

Jurors summoned

22. (1) The persons selected for the jury panel shall be summoned to appear by the sheriff or sub-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

(a) to the sheriff or sub-sheriff in the area where that person resides, or

(b) to a Provincial Court judge in the area where that person resides if there is no sheriff or sub-sheriff,

and the sheriff, sub-sheriff or Provincial Court judge may make that determination.

(2) A person who claims an exemption under section 9 shall provide proof of age satisfactory to the sheriff, sub-sheriff or the Provincial Court judge.

(3) A person who applies under subsection (1) and is refused an exemption or disqualification by the sheriff, sub-sheriff or the Provincial Court judge 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 or sub-sheriff.

(2) Except for those persons who have been challenged or exempted in a civil cause or issue, the 9 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 or sub-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 or sub-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.

Peremptory challenge

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.

Juries in certain actions

32. (1) In actions of defamation, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, seduction, or breach of promise of marriage,

(a) the plaintiff, in his or her notice of trial; and

(b) the defendant,

(i) within 2 days from the time of service of the notice of trial,

(ii) within an extended time that the court or judge allows, or

(iii) in the notice of trial to be given by the defendant,

may indicate 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 upon the application of either party made within 4 days after notice of trial has been given.

(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, false imprisonment or breach of promise of marriage.

(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.

Verdict

35. Seven jurors in a civil cause may return a verdict if the jury cannot agree upon an unanimous verdict after 3 hours deliberation.

Where inconvenient

36. A judge may direct a trial without a jury of a cause, matter or issue requiring prolonged examination of documents or accounts, or scientific or local investigation, that cannot, in the opinion of the judge, be conveniently tried with 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.

Definition

41. For the purposes of sections 42 and 43, the word "court" means the Trial Division and the Provincial Court of Newfoundland.

Wages continue

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 Enquiries 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 or 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.

No compensation

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 or social assistance 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) Each juror shall be paid reasonable travel and other expenses on the same basis as if he or she was a person employed as a civil servant by the province travelling on government business.

(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.

Regulations

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.

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