The People in the Court

Court layout

 Who are the people in Court?

For many of us, the Supreme Court is probably an unfamiliar place - we might know what its function is, but we probably don't know how the court works. A good way to help us work this out is to look at the roles of the people actually in Court. This diagram outlines the people in a criminal trial and where they sit in court. Some courtroom designs may vary, but this diagram shows a standard layout.

  1. Judge - The judge ensures proceedings are conducted according to the law. The judge is referred to as The Honourable Justice 'Smith' and is addressed as "Your Honour". The judge wears a black gown for both criminal and civil hearings.
  2. Judge's Associate - The associate is a member of the judge's personal staff, and helps in the administration of the court including preparing documents, recording decisions and issuing forms and warrants.
  3. Defence Counsel - A solicitor or barrister employed by the accused or defendant to defend the charge.
  4. Prosecutor - A solicitor or barrister who conducts criminal proceedings on behalf of the State of Western Australia or the Commonwealth of Australia.
  5. Accused - The person charged with committing an offence.
  6. Witnesses - People called to give evidence on behalf of the prosecution or the defence.
  7. Jury - A group of 12 people selected randomly to decide on the innocence or guilt of an accused person in a criminal trial.
  8. Orderly - Also a member of the judge's staff who calls witnesses and helps to keep order in the court.
  9. Media Bench - Journalists sit in court and report on proceedings.
  10. Monitor - Ensures all court evidence is recorded on tape.
  11. Public Gallery - Courtrooms are open to the public and members of the public are encouraged to attend trials to see for themselves how our courts operate.
Last updated: 19-Jul-2012
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