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Jurors' fees go up today

Jurors' fees go up today

Today's increases in Jurors' fees along with the ability to claim parking and childcare expenses, recognises the importance of 'out-of-pocket' expenses that jurors incur when attending jury service, Associate Justice Minister Rick Barker announced today.

Mr Barker said the fee increase and planned legislative changes in the Criminal Procedures Bill were part of an overhaul designed to strengthen juries and make it easier for people to serve on them.

The increases will see jurors paid $31 (up from $25) for up to three hours; $62 (up from $50) for a full day; $89 (up from $70) if attending from 6pm to 9pm, and $127 (up from $100) after 9pm.

Mr Barker says the increase in juror fees would return them to the same proportion of the average hour wage they were when last adjusted in 1996 – 58 per cent of the average hourly wage for the first five days of service, and then 75 per cent for the sixth and subsequent days.

"Juror fees have never provided full compensation for loss of income, but reasonable fees and expenses should be provided.

"It is significant that research found a high degree of consistency between the verdict reached by the jury and the verdict of the judge, the right to trial by one's peers is a long-standing feature of our justice system and something to be enhanced and supported," he said.

Budget 2004 set aside $9 million over the next four years to cover the fee increases and payment for parking and childcare allowances. This provision widens access to fairness and security in the New Zealand justice system.

"It is important to alleviate financial barriers that make it harder for people to do their civil duty," Mr Barker added.

Further information on claiming jurors' fees and rates is available by contacting the Jury Officer, at the local District Court.

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