Communities and Justice

Roles in court

Ever wondered what a court room looks like in a criminal trial when there's a jury? 


Interactive image of a court room setting, go below the image for detailed descriptions of each character. Judge CCTV Camera Court Officer Court Reporter Judge's Associate Witness Interpreter Accused Defence Lawyer Prosecutor Jurors Corrective Services Officer Media Support Person Public

The diagram above shows the main players in a criminal trial by jury in the district or supreme court. Click on the different areas of the diagram to find out who's who in court or read below descriptions for each person.

Accused person

Someone who is charged with a crime. Accused people can represent themselves, but can also have a solicitor or barrister represent them. Accused people usually sits in a section called the dock, or behind the bar table.

Court reporter or transcriber

Court staff member who records the hearing and writes down or types what is being said.

Closed circuit television

Used to convey images of court proceedings to another location when a person is giving evidence from a remote witness facility, or is appearing in court from another location via video conferencing.

Court officer

Helps the judicial officer and people coming into the courtroom. He (or she) organises court lists, calls witnesses and administers oaths.

Corrective service officer

Provides transport and security for people in custody.


Person who must defend his or her actions in court. Defendants may be defending themselves against a criminal or civil charge or have had a court claim for money brought against them. In a criminal trial, a defendants is called the accused.

Defence lawyer

Represents the defendant or accused person. Sometimes several defence lawyers represent the accused person. In the district or supreme courts the defence barrister may wear a wig and gown.


Assists the court by translating speech from one language into another or by translating sign language into speech.

Judge or judicial officer

In the district court and supreme court, the judicial officer is called a judge. In the local court the judicial officer is a magistrate. You call a judicial officer 'Your Honour' when you are in court.

Judge's associate

Helps the judge in court with documents and exhibits used in the case.


Citizens who sit on a jury panel and consider the evidence in court and decide on matters of fact. Jury panel members are selected at random from the public. They deliver a verdict on the case. In criminal cases there is a jury of 12 while in some civil cases there is a jury of four people. In the local court, cases are heard without a jury.


Representatives from the press, television and online services can attend most court proceedings, except those in the children's court.


Represents the police or state in criminal matters. In the local court, the prosecutor is a specially trained police officer while in the district or supreme court, the prosecutor is a lawyer from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.


Public are allowed into the public galleries of courtrooms in New South Wales to watch most cases. However, some cases, including all children's court cases, are closed to the public.

Support people

Come to court to offer support to particular witnesses. They are chosen by particular witnesses, but do not play a role in court proceedings.


Someone  who gives evidence in a case. Witnesses answer questions asked by the prosecutor and the defence. Before giving evidence, each witness is asked to take an oath or affirmation, which is a promise to tell the truth.

Last updated:

04 Dec 2023

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