People up to the age of 75 will be able to sit on juries in England and Wales, according to new plans announced by the justice minister today.
The proposal to raise the upper age limit of jurors from 70 to 75 is part of a drive to make the criminal justice system more inclusive and to reflect modern society, the Ministry of Justice said.
Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green said: "The right to be tried by your peers is, and remains, a cornerstone of the British Justice system laid down in the Magna Carta almost 800 years ago.
"Our society is changing and it is vital that the criminal justice system moves with the times. The law as it currently stands does not take into account the increases to life expectancy that have taken place over the past 25 years.
"This is about harnessing the knowledge and life experiences of a group of people who can offer significant benefits to the court process."
Each year, around 178,000 people in England and Wales undertake jury service, but currently only those between 18 and 70 can sit as jurors.
The age range was last amended by the Criminal Justice Act 1988, which raised the upper limit from 65 to 70, and the latest proposed changes to the age range would require a new law, to be brought forward early next year.
It would mean that those aged 70-75 who are summoned would be expected to serve on juries, although the original Juries Act 1974 still allows people to be excused if they can show a good reason why they should be.
The planned changes have been welcomed by organisations representing older people.
Saga director Paul Green said: "Older people have a great deal of life experience and many remain astute, savvy and mentally agile well into later life and will be a valued addition to any jury. This is a common sense reform and should be applauded."
Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of older people's charity Anchor added: "I welcome this move by the Ministry of Justice to increase the upper age limit for jurors.
"Older people have already contributed a great deal to society and their experiences and views are invaluable, which is why at Anchor more than 300 of our workforce is aged over the traditional retirement age.
"I'm pleased that more older people will now be able to share their wisdom and participate in the criminal justice system."
Michelle Mitchell, charity director general at Age UK, said: "Judging someone on the basis of their date of birth alone risks overlooking a person's unique skills and knowledge.
"While it's true that increasing longevity brings its challenges, there is also extraordinary human capital within our older population - older people are working, volunteering and contributing a huge amount to communities and the wider marketplace.
"We welcome all ways of including older people into the different aspects of society, including eligibility to sit on a jury."
10 consumer rights you should know
Jury age limit to be raised to 75
The law states that any goods you buy from a UK retailer should be of satisfactory quality, as described, fit for purpose and last a reasonable amount of time.
This applies even if you buy items in a sale or with a discount voucher. You may have to insist on these rights being respected, though.
Useful phrases to use when you want to show you mean business include, "according to the Sale of Goods Act 1979" and, if it's a service, "according to the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982".
Some shops will allow you to exchange goods without a receipt, but they can refuse to should they wish.
If the goods are faulty, however, another proof of purchase such as a bank statement should work just as well.
If you attempt to return goods within four weeks of the purchase, your chances of getting a full refund are much higher as you can argue that you have not "accepted" them.
After this point, you can only really expect an exchange, repair or part-refund.
The updated Consumer Credit Act states that card companies are jointly and severally liable for credit card purchases of between £100 and £60,260 (whether or not you paid just a deposit or the whole amount on your card).
Anyone spending between these amounts on their credit card is therefore protected if the retailer or service provider goes bust, their online shopping never arrives or the items in question are faulty or not as described.
Start by writing to the agency asking it to either remove or change the entry that you think is wrong. It will investigate the matter and find out whether you have been the victim of ID theft or a bank's mistake.
Within 28 days from receipt of your letter the agency should tell you how the bank has responded. If the bank agrees to change the entry, they will authorise the agency to update their records. They should also send updates to any other credit reference agencies they use.
You can also contact your lender directly to query a mistake. If the lender agrees to the discrepancy, ask them to confirm this in writing on their letterhead and send a copy to the agency, asking them to update your file.
The FOS settles disputes between financial companies such as banks and consumers.
If a financial organisation rejects a complaint you make about its services, you can therefore escalate that complaint to the FOS - as long as you have given the company in question at least eight weeks to respond.
The FOS will then investigate the case, and could force the company to offer you compensation should it see fit.
Bailiffs are allowed to take some of your belongings to sell on to cover certain debts, including unpaid Council Tax and parking fines.
They can, for example, take so-called luxury items such as TVs or games consoles. However, they cannot take essentials such as fridges or clothes.
What's more, they can only generally enter your home to take your stuff if you leave a door or window open or invite them in.
You are therefore within your rights to refuse them access and to ask for related documents such as proof of their identity. If they try to force their way in, you can also call the police to stop them.
Private sector debt collectors do not have the same powers as bailiffs, whatever they tell you.
They cannot, for example, enter your home and take your possessions in lieu of payment.
In fact, they can only write, phone, or visit your home to talk to you about paying back the debt. As with bailiffs, you can also call the police if you feel physically threatened.
Thanks to the Distance Selling Regulations, you actually have more rights buying online or by phone than on the High Street.
You can, for example, send most goods back within a week, for a full refund (including outward delivery costs), even if there's no fault.
You will usually need to pay for the return delivery, though. The seller must then refund you within 30 days.
We enter into contracts all the time, whether it be to join a gym, switch energy supplier or take out a loan.
In most cases, once you've signed a contract, you are legally bound by it. In some situations, however, you have the right to cancel it within a certain timeframe.
Credit agreements, for example, can be cancelled within 14 days. And online retailers must tell you about your cancellation rights for any contract made up to stand up legally.