On the day
Go with the witness to court
You can wait with the witness until they're called to give evidence.
There may be a lot of waiting. It may be helpful to take refreshments or something to read.
Once the person has been called to give evidence you can:
- remain in the waiting room until they've finished giving evidence
- go and sit in the public gallery
Sit in the public gallery
The person you care for may be reassured that you are in the courtroom, or they may prefer you to wait outside while they give evidence.
You might not be able to sit in the public gallery if you're also a witness in the case and still have to give your evidence, or if the case is closed to the public.
In Children's Hearing court cases you won't be allowed in the courtroom. The court staff will let you know what's possible.
Be a supporter
The court may have decided that the witness is particularly vulnerable and can have a supporter with them when they give evidence.
A supporter sits alongside the witness while they give evidence. You won't be allowed to speak to the witness or show your opinion when they give their evidence.
The witness can suggest who they would like to be their supporter, but the final decision is up to the judge or sheriff.
When you shouldn't be a supporter
The circumstances of the case and your relationship with the witness may mean it will be more appropriate that someone else is a supporter – like someone from the Witness Service or other voluntary organisation.
You may not be a suitable supporter if:
- you're also a witness and haven't given evidence yet
- you know too much information about the court case