Guide

Being a witness at court

Last updated: 29 June 2017

After you've given evidence

When the lawyers finish asking their questions, the judge or sheriff will tell you when you can leave. You're free to go and shouldn't have to come back.

You shouldn't go back to the witness room or discuss your evidence with other witnesses.

You may want to sit in the public gallery of the courtroom and listen to the rest of the court case. Check with the court staff to see if the public gallery is open – sometimes it closes when witnesses are giving evidence.

In Children's Hearing court cases, you can stay for the rest of the case if the case is about your child and you're a 'relevant person'. You can clarify this with the Children's Reporter.

A relevant person is a parent of a child, a person who holds parental rights and responsibilities for a child or who has (or recently had) a significant involvement in the upbringing of the child.

Finding out the outcome of the case

The judge (or jury) may not be able to reach a decision right away, because there may be other witnesses that are to give evidence. Some cases take several days or longer to finish.

In criminal court cases, you're entitled to ask for information about the final outcome of a case.

In Children's Hearing court cases, witnesses may only hear about the final outcome if they're a victim of an alleged offence by a child.

In civil court cases, the person who cited you as a witness may be able to keep you updated with the outcome of a case.

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Being a witness at court
After you've given evidence