Currently, compensation covers expenses for the individual. Jurors can claim for travel and subsistence expenses and for loss of earnings up to £64.95 a day for the first 10 days (this amount increases if a trial lasts longer). Although this can help to shoulder some of the financial burden if one of your employees is called for jury service, it is not comparable to the day rate of many workers, nor does it help with the loss of that employees’ skills and talent.

Members of the Federation of Small Businesses participate in its own compensation scheme and there are a few niche insurance packages around, but none of these can quantify the intellectual or practical cost of prolonged absence.

“My day rate is between £800 and £1,000,” says David Hart, co-founder of marketing and communications agency BitemarkMC. “I need to charge myself out at a reasonable rate to be able to pay staff, rates and so on. Simply removing a fee earner from a company like ours would be disastrous if we weren't properly compensated.”

As of April 2005, employers are required by law to let staff have unpaid time off work to complete jury service. If a key member of your staff is summoned you can ask them to apply for a deferral or excusal, but you can’t apply for this on their behalf. Any employee who is dismissed for attending jury service can take a claim for unfair dismissal to an employment tribunal.