Jury service (19 - 30 September) and what to expect while I'm away

This is a post to explain how I will try to help you during my impending two weeks of jury service.

Updates

  • 23rd September: I am not needed, so I am free all day for calls/meetings
  • 21st September: I'm not needed until 14:00, so I am available for calls in the morning (until, say, 12:00) if needed. Just email as usual.
  • 20th September: needed for jury service, so please assume that the information below applies
  • 19th September: not needed for jury service, but it is a bank holiday.

19 - 30 September

I am due to be doing jury service 19 - 30 September.

It is possible that it might finish earlier than that.

It is possible - although I really hope not - that it might last longer than that. It depends on the trial(s) to which I am allocated.

I will keep you up to date.

I will support you as best as I can

Honestly, I do not know what those two (I hope?!) weeks might look like.

Criminal barristers have started an indefinite strike action over pay in England and Wales, over their lousy wages. I support the barristers who are on strike, and I really hope that the government comes up with a suitable deal long before I am due to go on jury service, as Legal Aid criminal work is woefully underpaid. But there's a possibility there will be no trials, if there are no advocates. (Solicitors might be available as advocates, but I hope that they support the strike as much as their professional obligations allow.)

If there are no trials, then I might not be needed. But I don't know if I'll need to sit in a room in Reading anyway for the two weeks, "just in case".

And I hear that there is a lot of waiting around anyway.

If I am not needed for jury service, I will let you know

If it turns out that I am not needed, or I am excused early, I will let you know, so that normal service can be resumed.

Assume I am not available for calls during the day...

It's safest to assume that I will not be in a position to take a call during the day.

I don't have voicemail, so you can't leave one - email, Matrix, or Signal are your best options, and I'll respond when I can.

...but I am happy to schedule calls in the evening and at the weekend

I am happy to have calls in the evening and at the weekend.

I know this is sub-optimal for you.

(Given how long it will take me to travel to the court, by train, best assume that early morning calls will be a challenge, unless they are very early calls.)

I will take my laptop, but I don't know how much I will have it

I will take my laptop and usual security paraphernalia, in the hope that, if there's sitting-around time, I can get on with things. Apparently, there are lockers for storing stuff safely.

I do not know when I might have access to it, or how much time I might have, or what working conditions will be like, so it will be impossible for me to plan work, so anything I can do is a bonus.

I am not booking in work during 19 - 30 September...

Obviously, I am not booking in work 19 - 30 September.

If it turns out that I can work during the day time, then that is an unexpected bonus. But please assume I cannot.

If your work can wait until early October, then I will, of course, happily support you then. But I do not know exactly when I will be back, especially if I am put on a trial which runs beyond the two week "normal" period. I will do what I can to avoid this, but it is not in my control.

...and I will be managing expectations as we get closer to it...

As we get closer to 19th September, I will be managing your expectations in terms of timelines and my availability.

Basically, I am not going to commit to any work if there's a risk of letting you down.

... and I'll be working during the evenings and weekends to support you

I know it is sub-optimal (both for you, as well as for me and the jury process, as a well-rested juror is probably better than a tired one because they've been working at night), but I will working during the evenings and weekends, to keep on top of the most urgent things.

This means that there's a good likelihood you will still hear back from me on the same day on urgent matters, but it might be later in the day than usual.

"But what about...?"

If you have any questions or concerns, please do drop me a line.