Ministry of Justice
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Pioneering free therapy pilot to support jurors

First-of-its-kind counselling and 24/7 support for jurors following difficult cases.

  • Six free sessions for jurors who hear disturbing evidence, including murder, abuse and cruelty
  • Targeted pilot to roll out across 15 Crown Courts in England and Wales

Jurors who have experienced mental and emotional strain following difficult cases, such as the Lucy Letby trial, will be entitled to free counselling sessions as part of plans announced today (8 May 2024).   

Many people find their experience of jury service to be fulfilling and are supported throughout by full-time court staff. But for those who do experience upset, further help is currently limited to signposting to a GP or the Samaritans – this can leave some to feel isolated following their civic duty.

The new pilot would provide specialist expert support for jurors offering 6 free counselling sessions - alongside a 24/7 telephone helpline for round-the-clock triage support, advice and information. 

The justice system depends on the public joining a jury when they are called, and today’s news will provide further reassurance that those who hear distressing evidence of murder, abuse and cruelty will get the support they need, when they need it.

The programme will be piloted in 15 courts across England and Wales from Summer 2024.

Justice Minister Mike Freer said:   

Juries are the cornerstone of the criminal justice system, and sitting on a trial is rightly regarded as the ultimate responsibility of an honest, law-abiding citizen. 

This pilot is an important step in assessing how we can best support jurors, who perform such a vital civic duty, often in complex, high-profile cases.

Crown Courts in London, Liverpool, Mold, Birmingham, Bristol and Teesside are among the regions selected for the scheme. 

Welcoming the announcement, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University, Dr Hannah Fawcett said: 

This pilot project is a positive first step in recognising some of the potential psychological challenges of participating in jury duty and supporting those who have been affected by distressing cases. 

I welcome the introduction of specialist wellbeing support for jurors, who play such an important role in creating a safe and fair society for us all.

The pilot will be funded by the Ministry of Justice and will run for approximately ten months, during which time HMCTS will identify how best to direct resources on an ongoing basis to support the jurors who give their time to serve the criminal justice system.   

This announcement comes during Juror Appreciation Week, to mark the country’s gratitude for everyone who gives up their time to ensure justice is done. 

Note to editors

The pilot is due to be launched in Summer 2024 following the standard department procurement process.

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