South Coast jury system turns high-tech

People called for jury duty in Wollongong and Nowra will be able to nominate their availability and receive electronic reminders with the introduction of a new $4.2 million online management system.

In an innovative approach to a somewhat archaic system, prospective jurors will have access to a secure online profile, which allows them to manage their personal details.

Under the new system, they will be able to update their contact and banking details, apply to be excused or sign up to have text and email notifications reminding prospective jurors when to attend court.

It also provides them with the option to nominate two periods of up to two weeks where they are excluded from sitting on a jury, in the event they may have holidays or appointments booked.

Member for Kiama Gareth Ward announced the changes, saying the modern system would make the jury selection process simpler, faster and more convenient.

"Many people see our justice system as very stilted and arcane - and in many aspects it can be - but there's no reason why we shouldn't be using modern technology to streamline that process and do what we need to do but in a more timely, efficient and effective manner," Mr Ward said.

Under the new system, prospective jurors will be checked in electronically and receive a juror card, which is similar to an airline boarding pass, when they arrive at court.

Anyone who was unavailable for those dates would have already been excused, cutting down on selection times and the number of verbal applications made to the court.

"It means you can guarantee that you're going to get jurors who are available," Mr Ward said.

"Unfortunately, these things can come at a time when it's inconvenient, so it helps us pool from a group of people who have the time available."

More than 3800 people have been summonsed for jury duty in Wollongong and Nowra since February this year.

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