People in the courtroom
The judge or sheriff
The judge or sheriff is an expert in the law and is in charge of everything that happens in the court room.
They'll make sure everything is done fairly within the law and that the court rules and legal procedures are followed. They also have a duty to protect the interests of all people involved in the case, including the witnesses.
Normally there will be a lawyer representing each of the parties to a civil case, unless any of the parties are representing themselves.
They'll ask questions in court so the witnesses can give their evidence in their answers. Lawyers appearing in court may be solicitors or advocates.
These are the people:
- who have started the case
- who have had the case started against them
Some people in civil cases decide to represent themselves instead of using a lawyer.
The clerk of court
This person is responsible for assisting the judge or sheriff and keeping the court papers and records.
The court officer
This person assists the court and lets the witnesses know when it's their turn to give evidence. In the courtroom they may show a witness different pieces of evidence, like photographs.
The public and the press
The public may sometimes be excluded from the courtroom. The press is usually allowed to remain. In some cases they may be prevented from publishing anything that may lead to the identification of the parties or witnesses involved. In exceptional cases the judge might order for the courtroom to be completely cleared.