Who’s who in court

Get familiar with the main people you will see in court.

The Magistrate hears the case and makes the final decision about the matter. They make sure proceedings follow the law.

You call the magistrate ‘Your Honour’.

The prosecutor is a lawyer or specially-trained police officer who presents the case against the accused. They act on behalf of the State of Tasmania.

The defence counsel is a lawyer employed by the accused, to represent them in court hearings and defend them on the charge.

The accused is the person charged with committing an offence. They usually sit in a section called the dock, or behind the bar table. They are also called the defendant.

Witnesses are people called by both sides of the case to give evidence: to tell what they know about events or information related to the case.

The court clerk organises court lists, and works with lawyers, magistrates and others to make sure court runs smoothly. On the day, they also call witnesses and administer the oaths people must take.

Security officers maintain safety for everyone in the court building.

There may be an interpreter to translate from one language to another, or translate using sign language.

There may also be journalists from the media attending and covering cases. There are rules for what journalists and media representatives can and can’t do in court.