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Last year, I had the experience of being picked for jury service in the UK. Aside from all of the questions people usually have, one of my main concerns was what I should be wearing. Luckily, I chose correctly, and after going through the experience, I can give you a good idea of what to wear to jury duty.
You should wear casual or smart casual clothing for jury duty in the UK. Formal attire, such as a suit, is unnecessary. In all cases, as court is an official environment, you should not wear very casual clothing, such as shorts or flip flops, or clothing with inappropriate logos or slogans.
Read on for a more in-depth look at what you should wear for jury service in the UK, and my recommendations of what’s best (it’s not all obvious!).
How to Dress for Jury Duty
If we’re going by guidelines, the only officially published government statement says that:
“There is no strict dress code and you can wear clothes you’re comfortable in, such as jeans and a t-shirt.
Very casual clothing such as shorts or clothing with inappropriate logos or slogans are not allowed.”
From this, we can take that the main considerations are to:
- Show respect to the establishment.
- Dress comfortably.
- Make sure that your clothing isn’t sloppy, and is presentable.
- Make sure you aren’t too formal.
- Make sure you aren’t wearing anything too casual, such as shorts.
- Make sure your clothing doesn’t have inappropriate logos or slogans.
In most cases, you are fine wearing clothes that you might go out to the shops in at the weekend.
Examples of appropriate outfits include:
- Well fitting t-shirt, and non-distressed denim jeans.
- Chinos, button down shirt, and jumper.
- Turtleneck and smart trousers, with Chelsea boots and a coat.
Even though I’ve only suggested three outfits, you can really wear anything in-between, as long as they don’t break any of the rules in the rest of the post.
You are permitted to wear any colour clothing to jury service.
However, I would avoid brining in multiple super bright colours, and looking like a Christmas tree – instead, generally stick to a neutral palette of blues, browns, greys, and other inoffensive tones.
This way, if you wanted to bring in that bright jumper you haven’t got round to wearing yet, it’s unlikely that there will be a clash, and you won’t look out of place.
Warmth and Insulation
Depending on the time of year you are called, you will want to layer up differently.
During the warmer months, simple trousers and t-shirt will do. You may want to bring along a light jacket, in case there is any particularly cold air conditioning in your courtroom.
During the colder months, warmer trousers, a medium insulation jumper or turtleneck, and a warmer jacket is a perfect choice, as you can take the jacket off if the heating is on.
For the transition months, you can wear anything. However, each courtroom has a different temperature, and you won’t know if it will be colder or warmer than expected until you get there. Therefore, on your first day, I would suggest brining a warmer jacket, with a thinner under layer – they allowed us to keep our jackets on as it was cold in our courtroom, but if it was warmer, we could have easily taken them off.
What Shouldn’t You Wear to Jury Duty
You should avoid anything polarising or controversial, on both ends of the spectrum:
Too Formal Clothing
Unless you have a good reason for it, or are perhaps serving on the jury of a large and important case (where you’ll likely be told to dress smarter), you should avoid a suit, or any other formal ensemble.
Most people dress casually, so you will unnecessarily stand out, and will likely be physically less comfortable.
This is especially true as, as in my case, you could potentially be sitting around waiting for a long time, which is much more comfortable in appropriate casual attire.
It’s also important to establish a good bond with your fellow jurors, as, in extreme cases, you could be potentially spending months together. Going in too formally will set the wrong impression, and continuing to do so will isolate you as the odd one out, and will likely make the experience awkward for you.
Too Casual or Sloppy Clothing
Court is a respectable environment, so you should stay way from sloppy clothing.
This doesn’t just include the aforementioned typically casual clothing of shorts or flip flops – I would personally stay away from any loungewear, such as tracksuits.
On top of this, a good clothing fit is critical to looking respectful, appropraite, and put together.
Rude or Controversial Clothing
For the same reasons for not wearing too casual clothing to jury service, you should refrain from items with potentially offensive text, graphics, or connotations. This could be as deliberate as a hoodie with a swear word written on, or as mild a shirt with your favourite shooting game character on.
Also, even if not inherently rude, I would avoid any political or potentially controversial slogans.
What I Wore To Jury Duty
I followed the guidelines and stuck to comfortable clothes.
My specific jury duty took place in late August and early September, so it was a warm-medium temperature outside.
As such, I frequently wore:
- Medium weight chinos.
- Harrington Jackets.
- Rain Jackets.
- White trainers.
- Navy Vans Old Skools.
This neutral clothing selection served me well. It was comfortable, fit well, and didn’t draw any unnecessary attention to myself, but was still appropriate and presentable.
The specific clothing choices also made sure that I wasn’t overheating, going cold, or under or over dressed – I suggest brining in similar neutral styles for jury service.
However, despite the moderate temperature outside, the air conditioning in our courtroom was on full blast, making it very cold. To counteract this, I opted to wear an undershirt, and kept my jacket on during the sessions, only taking it off in the warmer waiting rooms.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to know the heating situation in the courtroom until you get there, so I would suggest bringing a warm jacket on your first day, with a thin underlayer, so you can either layer up, or remove it as necessary.
What Other People Wore to Jury Service
Though most people were following the general advice of dressing comfortably and casually, some chose to come slightly dressier.
This included full suits for the men, and high heels for the women.
It wasn’t a huge deal, as it looked like it was their uniform for to day-to-day work, but definitely wasn’t the most comfortable attire possible.
In some cases, you get let out early. Depending on your employer, you may agree to go back to work for the rest of the day, which is why you might consider coming dressed up.
So, now you know how to dress for jury duty.
It’s one of the easiest dress codes out there, but a very common question that people have.
In summary, it’s all about being comfortable, and showing respect to the setting. To be safe, wear:
- Smart casual clothing.
- Layers, so you can adjust your clothing based on the varying temperature of the different rooms.
- Neutral colours.
- Clothing with no possibly offensive connotations.