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What do I do first when I arrive at court to give evidence as a witness?


When you first arrive at court, you will need to go through security, this applies to everyone who enters a court or tribunal building. Please see the link in Related Information for items you are not allowed to take in.

Once you have passed through security the best thing to do is to find the Witness Service desk or office. They have a list of all witnesses due at court on that day. They will be able to tell you which courtroom to attend, where the canteen is and where you might find the officer in the case. The reception at the court will also be able to tell you where to find details of the courtroom.

For more information please see the websites in Related Information.

Related questions


If you have given a statement for a case, there is always the possibility that you will have to attend court as a witness. You will be called as a witness in most cases if you are the complainant or if the defence want to question you about the issues contained in your statement. On the back of the witness statement form it does say that if you give a statement you may be called to court. This should have been pointed out and explained to you prior to signing the statement.


If you are a witness in the case, you can:

  • contact the officer in the case
  • contact the Witness Liaison Department – (the name of this department can differ from force to force)
  • contact the court directly

If you are a defendant, you can either contact your solicitor or contact the court.

Please see the link in Related Information to find court contact details.


The only witnesses who will be called are those witnesses whose evidence cannot be agreed on between the defence and the prosecution. In the majority of cases, the officer in the case will be at the court. Victim Support can offer support and advice to victims of and witnesses to crime, see website in Related information.


Whilst it is possible that the defendant will also be outside the court room, it does not follow that you have to sit in the same area. Many courts have large communal areas and will announce each case over a tannoy so that if you wish, you can sit away from the defendant. Alternatively, speak to the court usher and tell them where you are going to be.

At most courts there will also be the Witness Service/Victim Support who will be able to provide a separate room for you if you do not want to sit in the communal area. It is perfectly understandable that you would not want to sit outside the court with the defendant in your case.

Alternatively you can contact the officer in the case who may be able to make alternative arrangements for you.

For more information please see the websites in related information.


No, if you are a witness or a complainant in a case then you do not need a solicitor. You are simply telling the court what you saw/what happened etc. The Crown Prosecution Service prosecutes the case on behalf of the police and the defendant will have a solicitor to represent him/her but you yourself do not need any legal representation.

For more information please see the websites in related information.

Contact your local police force

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