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WA Reforms Boost Jury Participation

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Western Australia has declared its new jury duty laws to be a success on the back of figures showing higher rates of jury participation.

Figures from the past two years showed a 45 per cent decline in the number of people who were being excused from jury duty since the laws were introduced.

Excusal rates dropped from 72 per cent to 27 per cent.

WA Attorney General Michael Mischin said fewer occupations were automatically excused, which meant juries were now more representative of the wider community.

“It has also allowed the Department of the Attorney General to summon fewer people for more trials, reducing many of the costs associated with summoning jurors,” he said.

The legislative changes included allowing people to defer their jury duty for up to six months, reducing the number of occupations that were exempt, increasing the age limit for jury service from 65 to 75, and imposing bigger fines on jury dodgers.

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