Prospective juror names are randomly selected from the Alberta Registries database within the Province of Alberta. On occasion a name may be selected of a citizen who has either moved or is deceased, usually when a change in personal information has not been updated with Alberta Registries. An online questionnaire is available to determine your eligibility for jury duty.
Once you have received your summons, you must complete the Juror Certification portion of the Summons and return the Office Copy within five days from the day you received the summons. Click here for more information about the Summons.
During the jury selection process, prospective jurors are selected at random and called forward. If you name is called, it does not mean that you have been selected for jury duty. The law allows both the Crown and the defence counsel the right to "challenge." If you are "challenged", do not view this as a criticism of you as a person but simply as the exercise of the counsel's rights according to the Criminal Code of Canada. Often, several juries are formed from the pool of prospective jurors present. Those not selected for the first jury may be selected for another jury (meaning, for another trial), and so on until all needed juries are chosen.
An accused who has elected to be tried by judge and jury may "re-elect" to be tried by judge alone. Sometimes such re-elections occur just prior to jury selection. Also, an accused may plead guilty or a case may be unavoidably postponed.
It is possible that because of these unpredictable events, no juries are selected from the pool of prospective jurors present. When this occurs, it is important to realize that by your attendance and readiness to serve, you have performed and important duty of citizenship. Your participation helps maintain the justice system.
One of the things a judge may do is tell the jury how long the trial is expected to take. At the judge's discretion, jurors may use a telephone to make any necessary arrangements.
Courts generally sit from 10am to 4:30 p.m., depending on the court schedule. Jurors usually go home each evening during the trial. When all the evidence and final arguments have been given, the judge gives the jury instructions on the law.
Once this is done, the jury is "sequestered." This means jurors are supervised by Court Security until a verdict is reached. While sequestered, jury members remain together and are not permitted to go home.
While sequestered, the jury may deliberate during evening hours, while other persons in the trial stand by (the judge, clerk and counsel). If necessary, accommodation and meals are provided for the jury members while sequestered. In criminal cases a verdict must be unanimous; in a civil trial only 5 out of the 6 jurors must agree on a verdict.
The Jury Officer assembles prospective jurors for selection. This officer is also responsible for keeping order in the courtroom and taking charge of the jury during the trial.
The Court Clerk calls the names of the prospective jurors, keeps a record of trial proceedings, manages exhibits, administers oaths, brings the court to order, and announces that court is in session or adjourned. The Court Clerk wears a black gown and sits in front of the judge's bench.
The Court Reporter sits in front of the witness box and records everything said during the trial.
The lawyer representing the Crown is called the Crown Prosecutor or Crown Counsel. The lawyer representing the accused is called the Defence Counsel.