PEOPLE up to and including the age of 75 will be able to sit as jurors in England and Wales under a package of reforms to the criminal justice system.
Currently, only people aged 18 to 70 are eligible to sit as jurors.
Between 2005 and 2012, an average of almost 179,000 people in England and Wales undertook jury service each year. It is estimated that this change would mean up to 6,000 jurors a year, out of the 179,000 average, would be 70 to 75-years-old.
Unveiling the proposal, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: " Jury service is, and remains, a cornerstone of the British justice system laid down in the Magna Carta almost 800 years ago. Every year, thousands of people give their time to take part in this vital function.
"Our society is changing and it is essential that the criminal justice system moves with the times. This is about harnessing the knowledge and life experiences of a group of people who can offer significant benefits to the court process."
The Juries Act 1974 states that only those aged 18 to 70 may be summoned to carry out jury service in England and Wales. This age range was last amended by the Criminal Justice Act 1988, which raised the upper limit from 65 to 70.
As part of the new plans, those aged 70 to 75 who are summoned would be expected to serve. However, the Juries Act 1974 still provides for discretionary excusal, where it can be shown that there is good reason why someone should be excused from attending.