Guide

What happens at a criminal court case

Last updated: 29 June 2017

If you're not called as a witness

If you're a victim of crime but haven't been called to give evidence as a witness, you might not be informed about the trial.

However, you can ask for information about the case and what happens if it goes to court.

Sit in court

In most cases any member of the public can sit in the public gallery at the back of the courtroom and listen to evidence – unless they're a witness and haven't given their own evidence yet.

When you arrive at court, report to the reception desk and ask what courtroom the trial will be held in.

Support services are available to you if you feel you need them.

The court may be closed to members of the public:

  • when a child or victim of an alleged sexual offence is giving their evidence
  • if there's a known risk of witness intimidation
  • if the witness is likely to find giving evidence distressing
  • if a vulnerable witness is giving evidence
  • where the court for any other reason directs that proceedings take place in private
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What happens at a criminal court case
If you're not called as a witness