What happens before court

Most cases take place in the magistrates' courts, but more serious cases have to be sent to the Crown Court for trial by jury. You should be told how to get to the court and what facilities are available there by the person who asked you to come to court. You should also tell this person if you need an interpreter, have a disability or other special needs, or if would like to visit the court to see what it is like, before the trial starts. You can also arrange this with the Witness Service directly or with the Customer Service Officer if your case is being heard at the Crown Court.

If you are asked to appear as a witness in court, you should be sent a copy of Witness in court (a Home Office leaflet) and our Going to court leaflet (available from the Witness Service).

You must try and re-arrange anything that clashes with the time of the court appearance. If there are any circumstances that do make it difficult to get to court - such as getting time off work, falling ill or going on holiday - you should contact the police or Crown Prosecution Service immediately.


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