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End the disqualification of people with “Mental Disorders” from participating in Jury Service

Comment 19th August 2010

Under current law, people with "mental disorders" are disqualified from participating in jury service. The definition is as follows:

You are not qualified for jury service if:

you suffer, or have suffered, from a mental illness, psychotic disorder, mental handicap

or severe mental handicap and, because of that condition:

you are resident in a hospital or other similar institution;

or you regularly attend for treatment by a medical practitioner.

This effectively disqualifies anyone who is suffering from stress, anxiety, OCD, an eating disorder, clinical depression or any other mental illness who is also receiving medication or treatment for their condition.

The inference is therefore that anyone who meets this criteria is incapable of participating in jury service.

Why does this matter?

Given that one in four people will suffer from mental illness throughout their lifetime, this restriction on participating in public life is both excessive and archaic.

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