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Scottish courts and the law
Scottish courts and the law

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1.3.6 The role of a court officer

You prepare the courtroom before a case, escort the Sheriff or Justice to and from the court, and help them with their requirements.

You work closely with the clerk of court, police officers and security officers to ensure the work of the court is conducted in an orderly and efficient manner.

You’d be responsible for items, like evidence, that will be produced in court and collect witnesses from the witness rooms and bring them into court.

You would:

  • Answer phone calls, and assist people visting the court building
  • Check in witnesses for court cases and direct them to the right places
  • Do general duties in the courtroom, like calling witnesses, handling items of evidence that are produced in court, escorting the Sheriff to and from court, keeping witnesses and jurors informed of the proceedings and help with showing CCTV evidence
  • Help to ensure security and appropriate standards of behaviour in the court building
  • Do administration such as filing, photocopying and distributing internal court papers
  • Collect letters and legal documents and prepare the mail to send out each day
  • Deliver cash and cheques to the bank at the end of the day
  • Get reference books from the library for the Sheriffs or officials during the court proceedings.
  • Move documents or other light items to and from the court
  • Update court reference guides
  • Make sure the members of a jury have privacy to consider their verdict
  • Set up audio/visual equipment and screens for cases with vulnerable witnesses
  • Open and close the court building
  • Report any repairs needed in the court building

You would need to able to deal with people in what could be a difficult situation for them. They might be anxious and worried about being in court so it would be important to be calm and tactful in dealing with them.

Some of the cases may be very distressing but it would be important to not get emotionally involved. You’d also need to respect confidentiality.

(The Skills Development Scotland Co. Ltd., n.d.)