In the High Courts of Scotland, criminal trials are heard under solemn procedure (jury trial). Types of crime heard at the High Court include murder and rape trials.
Who’s Who in the Court
Judges are experienced persons in law and ensure that the law is complied with. They are full-time salaried judges appointed by the Crown. In the High Court it is a Judge that sits ‘on the bench’ (a raised platform in the courtroom).
Clerk of Court
Witnesses can be Crown witnesses (called by the Procurator Fiscal) or defence witnesses (called by the accused, or his/her defence lawyer, also known as his/her defence agent). Witnesses must not enter the courtroom until asked to do so. Your local Witness Service will be able to give you more detailed information on being a witness.
The Procurator Fiscal prepares the case against the person charged with the crime. In the High Court it is the Lord Advocate, or one of his/her deputes, who present the case. They decide on whether a case is brought to court based on the amount of evidence and whether it is in the public interest.
Defence Lawyer (also known as Defence Agent)
Can be either an advocate or a solicitor-advocate who normally represents the accused, although they can represent themselves. If the accused pleads guilty, the defence lawyer can provide background information on their behalf. If pleading not guilty the lawyer defends the accused in court.
Members of the Public
Court Official (Macer)
Inside a Court
Court layouts vary, but you can see a photo and a diagram of a typical court below.
For legal reasons, we cannot disclose where the accused will be sitting.