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Home > Resources > Learn About the Courts > People in the Courtroom

People in the Courtroom

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Courtrooms are set up differently depending on their purpose. Similarly, the people you’ll see in a courtroom will also be different, depending on what’s taking place in it.

Judge(s)

  • Sits at the front of the courtroom, often on a raised platform (dais)
  • Presides over the courtroom to ensure fair and efficient hearings
  • Responsible for:
    • making sure rules are followed,
    • deciding whether to admit or not admit evidence
    • deciding guilt in a criminal trial (unless it’s a jury trial)
    • giving judgment in a civil or family trial
    • sentencing and awarding damages
    • determining whether there was a mistake in a lower court

Clerk

  • Sits in front of the judge
  • Opens and closes court (tells gallery to stand when judge enters and leaves)
  • Marks exhibits
  • Makes sure everything said in the trial courts is recorded
  • Takes witnesses’ and jury members’ oaths
  • Reads the charges and asks for plea of guilty or not guilty in Court of Queen’s Bench 

Lawyer

  • Presents case for client in civil or family matters
  • Presents case for the Crown or defence in criminal matters

Security (may be RCMP officers, Sheriffs or Deputy Sheriffs)

  • Keep courtrooms safe
  • Protect judges, accused, jury, court staff, public, etc.
  • Enforce rules, such as:
    • no hats
    • no phones
    • no food or drink
    • no talking while court is in session
  • Escort accused people who are in custody
  • Conduct security screening at some court locations

Jurors

  • Only in the case of a jury trial, which can only be held in Court of Queen’s Bench
  • Members of the public selected at random
    • 12 in criminal case
    • 6 in civil case
  • Listen to the evidence
  • Render a verdict as a group

Youth workers/Legal Aid/Alternative Measures Representatives

  • May be in the courtroom
  • Available to help the accused and the court

Witness

  • Answers lawyers’ questions in court about what they saw or know (gives evidence)

Interpreter

  • Used when the accused or a witness does not understand English
  • Translates what is being said

Social Worker

  • Supports children or victims of crime while they are in court

News Media

  • Attends court and reports to general public on events in court 

Members of the Public

  • Courtrooms are almost always open to the public
  • Individuals or groups can attend when convenient