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No plans to increase jury age cap

The Gibraltar Government has no plans to follow the UK Government in raising the jury age limit to 75.

The change in Britain, the first of its kind in almost 30 years, was announced by the UK Government last month and was implemented across England and Wales on December 1.

Locally, jury service is capped at age 65 and those aged between 66 and 71 must volunteer to be jurors.

But despite the changes to the English and Welsh judicial system, a Gibraltar Government spokeswoman told this newspaper they have no plans to follow suit.

A UK Government spokesman said the new age limit will “better reflect the healthy life expectancy of people in England and Wales and mean juries are more representative of the communities they serve.”

“It is the first change of its kind in almost 30 years and will allow a growing demographic of older people to participate in this vital civic duty,” the UK Government statement added.

The move to raise the age was welcomed in the UK by Justice Minister Sir Oliver Heald, QC, as well as Chief Executive Jane Ashcroft of the UK older people’s charity ‘Anchor’.

Sir Oliver stated the change forms part of the UKs “world-leading justice systems”, adding that it is important modern jurors reflect today’s society.

Previously only people aged 18 to 70 were eligible to sit as jurors in England and Wales.

“I welcome this move by the Ministry of Justice to increase the upper age limit for jurors,” said Ms Ashcroft.

“Older people already contribute a great deal to society and represent an integral part of any local community.”

“At Anchor we believe the knowledge and experience of older people is invaluable and I’m pleased that more will now be able to share their wisdom by contributing to the criminal justice system.”

Locally there are over 17,000 registered jurors and a person must live in Gibraltar for at least five years to be eligible for jury service.

Reasons for exclusion from the jury list include mental health issues, not being proficient in the English language, a criminal record or a professional conflict.