Visit to Magistrates' Courts
When we visited Sutton Coldfield Magistrates' Courts. We saw a number of cases (mainly theft cases). The staff were very friendly and showed us all around the courts. Firstly they showed us into the 2 main Courtrooms, court 1 & 2. There we saw where the Magistrate's sit at the back of the room to where the public gallery is, and then in front of them is where the Court Clerk and the Usher sit. That is the same in both courts. In court 1, defendants in custody are brought up from the holding cells and are seated on the left of the court not handcuffed to the guards. Defendants not in custody take to the dock on the right of the court.
The Defence Solicitor is on the left and the Prosecutor is on the right. The Probation Officer sits behind them when called.
The public galleries are at the back of the courts and people sitting in the public galleries cannot go past unless otherwise told to do so.
When the Magistrate's enter or leave the Courtroom ALL people must stand as a sign of respect.
Before a case has started, the Usher has a record of all the Defendants, which court they are supposed to be in and whether or not they have come to court. The Court Clerk who's main role it is to advise the Magistrates' will tell the court which case is to be called next and will call the next defendant through.
Firstly the Defendant is told to confirm their name and address. The Prosecution will tell the Court the facts of the case and the Defence Solicitor will give his argument to the case.
Cases are then either adjourned (which most of the cases that we seen...