Guide

What happens at a criminal court case

Last updated: 29 June 2017

How a case is prepared

Getting a case ready for court can take some time. This is because it's important for everyone that the case has been properly prepared and all the information is accurate.

The Procurator Fiscal – the lawyer who works for the prosecution – decides whether a case should go to court.

A case can only go to court if they believe there's enough evidence to show that the accused person committed the crime. If the accused pleads not guilty there will be a trial and witnesses will be expected to give their evidence.

Witness interviews

Sometimes the Procurator Fiscal interviews witnesses about the case and the evidence they'll give, to help them prepare for a court case.

Defence lawyers may ask to interview witnesses too.

The statement taken at this interview is called the 'precognition statement'. You must give a precognition statement if asked.

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What happens at a criminal court case
How a case is prepared