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The Courtroom

Information about the layout, process and personnel in English and Welsh courts
by

simon jukes

on 7 November 2013

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Transcript of The Courtroom

The Courtroom
LGC Forensics
Magistrates courts are very different from Crown Courts and deal with different types of cases depending upon the charges and potential sentencing available.
3 magistrates
Clerk for the courts
No jury
Solicitors present cases most of the time
Crown Courts
High Court Judges
High Court Judges preside over the most serious cases in the land, they like their junior counterparts, are appointed by the Monarch on the Lord Chancellor's advice.
The Courts Act of 1971 led rise to the introduction of Circuit judges.
Reduced burden on the court system by standardizing several exisiting types of court into one over seven regional areas in Engalnd and Wales.
Each Circuit judge has to obtain 'tickets'.
The Judge -
Presides over proceedings
Conducts case
Instructs jury
Adjudicates on matters in dispute
Gives rulings on points of law
Keeps barristers in order
Determines sentence (criminal)
Awards damages (civil)
The (Learned) Clerk -
In a Magistrates court the Clerk will
assist in the understanding of legal
issues whereas in Crown Courts the Clerk will look after the judge and ensure smooth running of the court.
Usher
Usher: finds witnesses, leads them to witness box, provides and hands up the New Testament for example, hands up exhibits, assists the Clerk to the Court.
Legal Teams -
Barrister: takes instructions, gives legal advice, presents cases (rights of audience)

Solicitor: takes instructions, provides legal advice, prepares cases, instructs barristers (presents cases in lower courts)

Clerk/Legal Executive: running about
The Jury
The Court Process -
Assembling the Court
Defendant arraigned and charges read out
Guilty plea - sentenced by judge
Not guilty plea - jury is empanelled, sworn in
Any applications made e.g. exclude evidence
Legal arguments without the jury
The Trial Process -

The Crown’s Case
Prosecution counsel opens the case (outlines elements of law, what's to prove, evidence on which this relies, guidance on burden of proof, points of law for judge)
witnesses called to ‘tell story’
evidence in chief/cross examination/re-examination
evidence read out
expert witnesses (often last, special position)
The Defence Case -

No case to answer pleas
Witnesses called
Evidence in chief/cross examination/re-examination
Defendants' cases heard in turn
The End Game:
Prosecution’s closing speech
Defence’s closing speech
Summing-up by judge
Jury retires
Jury delivers verdict
Judge passes sentence
Magistrates’ Courts

Sir/Madam, Your Worship

Crown Courts

High Court Judges - Your Lordship/Ladyship
Circuit Judges - Your Honour

Addressing the Bench
Full transcript