Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Jury age limit could be scrapped in Northern Ireland

A ban preventing people, aged over 70, from sitting on a jury is being reviewed by the Justice Minister.

David Ford is seeking the public's views on whether the upper age limit for jury service should be amended or even abolished.

A consultation exercise will run for 12 weeks to determine views on whether to raise the limit, or follow the example of the Republic of Ireland and Scotland and scrap it.

Mr Ford said: “The current upper age limit for jury service is 70 and has been in place for over 30 years. With people living longer and healthier lives the time is right to consider if we ought to change the age limit or abolish it altogether.

“I am not making any proposals at this stage, but I am very keen to hear the public's views.”

Changes in the rules over recent years in the Republic and in Scotland were followed by a consultation on the subject last year in England and Wales.

Demographic changes mean a greater proportion of people are being excluded from jury service by reason of age now than was the case in 1975, when the current age limit came into operation.

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