missing thread about jury service
Someone put on here a thread about what to eat while on jury service. I composed a long reply but when I tried to post it, the thread had disappeared. There may have been a good reason for this, if so I apologise for bringing it up, but here is my reply if it is any use to anyone. And if I am breaking some unknown rule (again!) then no doubt someone will come and delete it.
Sorry, this is a long posting!
I did jury service a few weeks ago. I can tell you what my experience was, but every court is different, so I can’t guarantee that your experience will be the same.
Our jury lounge was a bit like a waiting area in a small airport – a big room with lots of fairly comfortable chairs, with a cafeteria area to one side, with some tables and chairs for eating. The daily allowance for food and drink is £5.71 - we were given a smart card which was pre-loaded with the £5.71 per day. Now don’t ask why it isn’t a round sum of money because I don’t know and nor, it seems, does anyone else! At the end of the two weeks, if there was any money left on the card it would be calculated and added to any travel expenses being claimed and the total amount would be transferred to your bank account.
Our cafeteria was small, and most of the food was in the burger, chips, toasted sandwich, baguette, category. There were soft drinks and a Costa coffee machine – there was also a free water cooler. There were muffins, biscuits, chocolate – the usual rubbish. The only things which were even vaguely on-plan were the jacket potatoes (which were horrible), some sad-looking apples, and some kind of instant porridge pot in the mornings. Some things came with salad – my jacket potato came with a square inch of lettuce, one small slice of cucumber, and half a slice of tomato! At the end of the line, by the till, there was a pile of leaflets on healthy eating and making sensible choices!!!! The prices were what you might expect to pay anywhere else – it wasn’t subsidised at all. The £5.71 didn’t go very far.
Some people did bring in their own food, some people went out at lunchtime to the local M&S and brought things in. It was OK to sit in the cafeteria area and eat your own food, and you could use the (plastic) cutlery and condiments. When you are selected for a jury and go into court, your belongings go into a secure locker, so make sure your food is securely wrapped and won’t leak. In fairness to the other jurors, I would choose food that is not too smelly or messy.
When your jury starts its deliberations in the jury room, you will be brought tea and coffee and water, but you won’t be allowed to go to the cafeteria or outside, so you must bring your own food then (this will be explained to you, and it might be different where you will be).
The most important thing to remember is that there is a lot of sitting around wasting time, so take something to do. There may well be books, magazines, games, etc., provided, but better to take something of your own. Someone in our jury lounge brought her knitting! I took my Kindle, and was glad I did. As the week goes on you will find you will get chatting to people which helps pass the time. Dress comfortably, in layers that you can add or subtract depending on the temperature – our jury lounge was very cold, the courtroom was OK, and the jury room was quite warm.
I found that all the staff at the court were very helpful and nice, but they were badly overworked and the way that the courts work does seem very inefficient and wasteful. Cases were cancelled at a moment’s notice, you can sit around until mid-afternoon and then be sent home, having done nothing useful. Best not to get cross about this, it is a waste of energy – although some people did get very cross indeed about it, it really doesn’t achieve anything. And you may get lucky and get a really interesting case.
Think of it as an experience, and of course it is your civic duty!