Reply to a jury summons.

Digital transformation in justice

What is Jury Service?

A jury summons instructs you to attend court at the time and date stated so that you may be selected to make up 1 of 12 citizens required to serve on a jury. Although you may not be chosen as a juror, you do have to show up. Serving on a jury is a civic and legal duty for citizens between 18 and 75 years old. You may be able to change the date of your service or, in extenuating circumstances, be excused from serving.

355,000 jury summons are issued to UK citizens per annum.

Those summoned are a highly representative demographic sample of the community around the court.

The Current Jury Summonsing Process

Courts make a request to the Jury Central Summoning Bureau (JCSB) for jurors to serve on trials in 9 weeks time.

Citizens receive a jury summons in the post and must reply within 7 days using the paper form supplied.

Citizens who are eligible to serve must attend court. They may serve on one or more trials (or none at all), typically over 10 days

The JSCB summons a random selection of the population from the electoral roll. Only the name and address are known.

The JCSB hand-process all summons replies, re-keying information into the system.

We have designed a new digital service for the UK government for jury summonsing

Public Service

A new service for UK citizens to reply online to their jury summons, to be hosted on GOV UK

Admin Service

An administrative interface for government employees to use to process the digital replies

We have been working on the digital transformation of the jury summons experience for the Ministry of Justice since November 2015 with our partner, CGI. We have been providing User Experience design & strategy, User Interface design and User Research services throughout all phases of the project, which is now in Beta (testing).

This project forms part of the government’s Transformation Strategy.

Why change things?

The existing jury summonsing process is paper-based, inefficient, not particularly inaccessible, and carries a cost per transaction that is not sustainable. With the application of user-centred design-thinking we identified significant improvements for the service for both citizens and the government, resulting in:


  • The provision of more convenient channels of response for many citizens

  • The reduction of phonecalls and emails to the Jury Central Summoning Bureau by improving the quality and clarity of information presented

  • Increased efficiency in the processing of summons replies

  • The creation of an accessible and inclusive service

Our Approach

As a public-facing government service, the project would be subject to assessment by the Government Digital Service, in accordance with the 18-point service standard. It would also follow a phased framework established by GDS

The Project Team


Over two months we undertook a series of research activities in order to furnish ourselves with an end to end understanding of the jury summons process, from the creation of juror pools to the issuing of expenses. During this time we:


  • Ran workshops and interviews with staff and stakeholders

  • Conducted ethnographic research at the bureau, observing staff answering calls to understand current user pain points

  • Logged and categorised calls from citizens to the bureau for analysis

  • Interviewed and issued questionnaires to serving Jurors at Crown Courts to learn about their experiences

  • Engaged with senior government stakeholders to ensure that the needs of the business were being understood and considered

  • Created experience maps, process maps and user flows to record and articulate our findings


During the Alpha phase our team took the learnings from the discovery phase and began to develop potential solutions that would address the user and business needs. During this time we:

  • Ran design workshops and reviews with stakeholders

  • Created user interface prototypes (Sketch through to high fidelity interactive examples)

  • Conducted usability testing with both citizens and staff. This was lab-based, in the field, and ethnographic.

  • Iterated our designs using the learnings from each research session

Working collaboratively with our development partners CGI, we designed and developed prototypes for both the public-facing interface and the admin-facing interface. The public prototype was built to be responsive, meaning we could test on desktops, mobile and tablets.

The coded prototypes also permitted us to conduct accessibility testing, where we could check compatibility with assistive technologies such as screen readers.


During Beta we have worked closely with our development partner, CGI, to implement the designs that we have validated with users. We are shortly going out to trial with the new service. During this period we are:

  • Continuing to test coded prototypes with users, feeding our findings into the product backlog. We had a particular emphasis on testing accessibility of the service during this phase

  • Iterating the design of both the public- and staff-facing interfaces as we learn from testing

  • Preparing for the public trial, ensuring feedback and measurement frameworks are in place

Next steps

The service has been in operation nationally in Public Beta for 18 months and will shortly be going forward for a Live assessment. The project team have been monitoring progress, gaining insights and feedback that will drive the product backlog for the next phases.

The team have implemented the standard GDS measurement framework, but supplemented this to ensure that both HMCTS and the project team will have the data required to influence the continuous improvement of the service.