Monday 9th December 2019
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Who else will be in the court and what they do?

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Some of the people you should expect to find in a courtroom and the role they play.

The Usher
The Usher is the person who keeps a note of which defendants are present and which solicitor is representing them.  They also decide which order people will be seen in, and this usually depends on solicitors being available when the usher is ready to bring the case before the court.

The Clerk
The Clerk is a legally qualified person, whose job it is to guide the Magistrates in matters of the law.  Magistrates will expect the Clerk to explain any points of law to them, and to help with drawing up reasons for the decisions that they make about young people.

The Prosecutor
The Prosecutor is a solicitor who represents the Crown Prosecution Service.  He or she will usually speak first about the young person, telling the Magistrates about the alleged offence.  (until a person pleads guilty or is found guilty at trial, they are innocent in the eyes of the law!).  The Prosecutor will read from Police and witness statements when they tell the Magistrates about the offences, and will make them aware of any previous convictions (but not until after the person is known to be guilty).

The Defence
The Defence is the solicitor who acts for a person accused of a crime.  They will speak to the young person before going into the court, so that they are aware of the circumstances of the offence.  It is important that solicitors know everything about any incidents, so that they can respond to any issues raised in court.

The Youth Offending Service
The Youth Offending Service will have a representative in the Youth Court to advise the Magistrates of any information that they have about the young person. 

The Youth Offending Service representative will inform the court about a young person's compliance with previous sentences and any risk issues relevant to sentencing.  They ensure young people are aware of the requirements of Orders, make arrangements for assessment reports to be written and in some circumstances produce "Stand Down" reports for the court on the day of court.  

The person in court will record court processes and outcomes so that a young person's progress through the court system will be monitored.

The Magistrates
Last, but by no means least, are the Magistrates.  Usually, the Magistrates (known as the "Bench") will be people from the local community who have been asked to serve as Magistrates and help with the dispensing of justice.  They are not lawyers, but have been trained on how to be Magistrates by the Lord Chancellor's department.  They have specific rules that they have to abide by, and are guided through the process of dealing with offenders by a Justice's manual (they will each have a copy of this book) and the Court Clerk. There will usually be three Magistrates, but there can be occasions when there are only two.

If there is only one Magistrate sitting in the court, this usually means that he or she is a "District Judge" and is a legally qualified person themselves, meaning that they can sit on their own through the proceedings.



 Contact information

Youth offending service
Ground Floor, The Albany 4, Cardiff Road, Luton, LU1 1PP
Tel: 01582 547900 or out of hours emergency 0870 2385465
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