A group of Angus residents cited for jury service had the threat of arrest hanging over their heads after an important trial assize was almost derailed.
Up to 20 people faced warrants for failing to appear at Forfar Sheriff Court without giving a reason.
But it emerged that a glitch in the system used to notify potential jurors may have been the cause of their non-appearance.
A costly sheriff and jury sitting was almost cancelled because there were doubts over whether enough candidates had turned up to allow trials diet to go ahead.
A spokesman for the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) said a pre-recorded message for potential jurors “may have given rise to some confusion” and this has been rectified for the future.
Around 50 people are typically cited to appear at a sheriff court jury assize, from which 15 are panelled by ballot.
Although it is not set in law, a general minimum of 30 people are anticipated to ensure a fair panel, taking into account that some people may know the accused or any background to the case.
The non-attendees forced the recent assize to go ahead with 28, after a sheriff grudgingly gave his consent to proceed.
Sheriff and jury trials can take years to arrange and even the less complex cases take around a day to complete, at a cost of tens of thousands of pounds.
North-east Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone called for the jury duty system to be reviewed.
“Citizen participation in jury trials is a cornerstone of our justice system to ensure a fair trial for the accused,” he said.
“Given we have lost a number of courts, the strain on the justice system is already considerable and we cannot tolerate the prospect that the non-appearance of potential jurors could threaten a trial which may have taken many months to prepare.
“On the other hand, I am also concerned that the system needs to be reviewed so that when people are obliged to take time off work to do jury duty, that they are appropriately compensated.”
The SCTS spokesman said: “Jury service is a fundamental part of Scottish Justice and it is extremely rare for a jury panel to be less than the expected 30 persons, in any court in Scotland.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The citation of sufficient individuals to achieve the required minimum attendance of 30 is an operational matter for the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service.
“We would anticipate SCTS would explore any particular factors underlying this unusual occurrence to inform their ongoing work in furthering the efficient and effective operation of Scotland’s courts.”