Learn about the roles of the people who work in the courtroom
Roles of the people in the courtroom
The judge is in charge and must ensure that the accused gets a fair trial - ensuring the trial is presented to the jury in a logical and balanced way. The judge settles any legal argument, directs the jury and if the defendant is found guilty, decides the appropriate sentence.
The Court Registrar
The Court Registrar
The court registrar has many responsibilities essential to the running of the court including the preparation of the judge’s papers, calling each case in court and assisting witnesses in taking the oath or affirmation. The registrar will also take the verdict from the jury foreman.
A witness is a person who gives evidence in the trial either on behalf of the prosecution or the defence. They may be cross-examined by the opposing side as to the accuracy of their evidence.
Also known as the defendant, the person accused of the crime. He or she does not have to prove their innocence – it is for the prosecution to prove that they are guilty. If he accused person is in custody, they will be escorted to court by a prison officer.
The case is usually presented by barristers (also referred to as ‘counsel’). There are barristers for the prosecution representing the State who bring the case (known as 'counsel for the prosecution') and barristers for the accused person (known as 'counsel for the defence'). The barristers receive their instructions from solicitors who sit facing them.
The prosecution barristers address the court. It is their job to present the evidence against the defendant. They explain to the court what the defendant is accused of doing and are responsible for presenting the case against the defendant
Defendants can appoint their own defence team, or, if they are unable to afford it, have state-appointed counsel to represent them.
Counsel for the defence represents the person accused of the offence or offences. They do this by questioning the prosecution case and presenting evidence on behalf of the defendant.
Members of the press are often in court to report on the case for radio and television broadcasts or publication in newspapers.