Giving evidence at court

Last updated: 7 August 2017

Questions and concerns

I'm nervous about giving evidence – is any help available?

If you're concerned about what will happen to you if you tell the truth about someone and feel nervous and anxious about giving your evidence, tell the person who cited you to be a witness.

This may be the Procurator Fiscal, Children's Reporter or a defence lawyer – they can tell you if any special measures can be taken to help you.

How long will it take to give evidence?

The time it takes you to give your evidence depends on how much information you have to tell the court and how many questions you're asked.

Will the accused be in court?

Yes – to make sure justice is done, it's important for the accused to be in court.

In some cases, you may need to identify the person you're being asked questions about. When giving your evidence you may be asked to look around the courtroom and point to the person if you see them.

If you're worried about this, speak to the person who cited you as a witness – this may be the Procurator Fiscal or a defence lawyer.

There is no accused in a Children's Hearing court case, but the child who is the subject of the case and their parents or carers may be present.

Sometimes the accused can ask questions in a court case, but not if:

  • the accused is charged with a crime involving a sexual offence
  • the court decides it's in the interest of a particularly vulnerable witness not to be asked questions by the accused

Will other people see me giving evidence?

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

The court might close to members of the public if there's a known risk of intimidation or a witness's evidence is likely to be distressing. This could include if the case is about a sexual offence.

Tell the police, a court official or whoever cited you right away about any intimidation before or during a court case.

Only certain people connected with the case can attend Children's Hearing court cases. Anyone else will only be admitted with the sheriff's permission.

What if English isn't my first language?

You may need an interpreter if English isn't your first language. Even if you speak some English you may still have problems understanding all the words.

The person who cited you (the Procurator Fiscal, Children's Reporter or a defence lawyer) can arrange for you to get help from an interpreter.

Hide this page now

Use this button or the Esc key on your keyboard to jump to home page.

Giving evidence at court
Questions and concerns