Who’s who in court?
The Magistrates (sometimes called DJ’s, ‘Justices’ or ‘the Bench’)
These are the men and women from the local community who have the job of dealing with your offence(s). Two of three Magistrates usually sit behind a desk in the Courtroom. One of them is the chairperson and will speak for them all. Most Magistrates do not get paid and they do not wear a wig or a gown. However, sometimes there will be just one person who is called the District Judge. S/he is legally trained and works as a Magistrate full time.
The Legal Advisor
The Legal Advisor is the person who sits in front of the Magistrates. It is this person who reads out the charge (the offence you are said to have committed) and will ask you whether you admit or deny the offence. Legal Advisors act as advisors to Magistrates and try to make the court run smoothly. They have no say in whether you are guilty or not guilty, or how you should be dealt with, but they can help and advise the Magistrates about what powers they have for dealing with you.
The Crown Prosecutor (sometimes called CPS)
The Crown Prosecutor presents the facts about the offence to the Magistrates and may talk about what happened when the Police arrested you.
Youth Justice Service Officers
There are Youth Justice Service Officers in the Youth Court who will try to answer any questions you may have about your case. They may also be asked by the Magistrates to find out information about your home life to help the Court come to decisions about how to deal with you in Court. If you admit to a charge or are found guilty by Magistrates, then they may be asked to write a report about you. This would usually take 2-3 weeks before you are sentenced.
Court Ushers (wear a black gown)
The Court Usher will call you into Court when it is your turn and show you to your seat. It is very important that when you arrive at Court to tell the Usher that you are there, so that the Magistrates will know that you have arrived on time. Youth Courts are usually held on the ground floor of the Court building, in Court 11, however you can check at reception on the ground floor when you first get to the Court building which Court your case is in.
It is always advisable that a Solicitor speaks for you in Court. You will need to discuss this with your parent(s)/carer(s). The Solicitor will tell the Court about you and talk on your behalf in the Court. A Solicitor can also represent you in a trial. If you are guilty they will tell the Court about the reasons for your offending. They will also explain the Court process to you. If you have not got a Solicitor you can ask when you arrive to see the Duty Solicitor.