Who else will be in the courtroom? What will they be doing?

A number of people will be in the courtroom besides the judge, the jury, and the attorneys. The list below explains who they are and what they will be doing.

  • Plaintiff (civil case)- In a civil case, the person who brought the case to court is called the plaintiff.
  • Defendant (civil case)- The person being sued in a civil case is called the defendant.
  • Defendant (criminal case)- A person who has been charged with a crime is the defendant in a criminal case.
  • Attorneys or council - Attorneys representing the plaintiff, defendant, or the government in a criminal case are also referred to as counsel. Depending on who they represent and what court you are in, you may hear them called "council for the plaintiff", "plaintiff's attorney", "counsel for the defendant", or "defense attorney". An attorney representing the government in a criminal case is called the prosecuting or Commonwealth's attorney.
  • Court Reporter- The court reporter keeps the official record by recording every word spoken during the trial.
  • Bailiff- The bailiff keeps order, maintains the security of the court, and helps the judge and the jury as needed.
  • Clerk of Court- The clerk of court, also called the clerk, maintains the court files and preserves the evidence presented during the trial. The clerk may also administer the oaths to jurors and witnesses.
  • Witnesses- Each side in a trial will probably have a number of witnesses who have information about the dispute. Very often the judge will ask them to wait outside the courtroom until it is their turn to testify. This is done so they will not hear each other's testimony and be influenced by it.

Show All Answers

1. Can I talk to anyone about the trial while it is going on?
2. Can I watch news reports of the trial or read newspaper accounts of it?
3. How are criminal cases tried?
4. What if I accidentally hear something about the trial outside the courtroom, or if someone contacts me about the trial while it is still going on?
5. What if I need a break during the trial?
6. What are Jury Instructions?
7. What are my responsibilities now that I'm part of a jury?
8. What are the two types of criminal cases?
9. What happens during a civil trial?
10. What is a "question of fact"?
11. What is a "question of law"?
12. What should I do when testimony is stricken from the record?
13. Who awards damages in a civil case?
14. Who else will be in the courtroom? What will they be doing?
15. Who sets the punishment in a criminal case?
16. Why do the attorneys object to certain statements or evidence?
17. Why is the jury sometimes asked to leave the courtroom in the middle of a trial?