Appearing in court can be a very stressful experience. The outcome of the trial could have a significant impact on your life and the lives of those around you. At Nellany & Co., we understand how anxious you will be feeling before appearing in court. We can provide you with the highest quality court representation to help you achieve the best possible conclusion to your case. Contact us for expert advice tailored to your circumstances.
Trials in Scotland
The person on trial, charged with the offence, is known as the accused. At the trial, both the prosecution and the defence will have the opportunity to put forward their arguments. Witnesses will be asked about their recollections of the incident in question, and both sides will be able to present evidence to prove their case. There may also be expert witnesses, such as forensic scientists and medical experts.
The accused has the right to choose whether he or she wishes to speak in court to put forward their version of events – they cannot, however, be forced to speak, and an accused does not have to be present at their trial. The accused will be represented by a solicitor or an advocate (a type of court lawyer).
The judge or sheriff
Depending on which court you are appearing in, there will be a judge or sheriff who is ultimately in charge of the proceedings. He or she will ensure that the court proceedings run smoothly, that all the evidence is heard and that a verdict is reached.
The judge or sheriff will be assisted by a clerk of court, who deals with the administrative aspects of the trial, such as reading out the charges and recording the verdict.
It is the judge or sheriff’s role to determine questions of law – for example, whether particular conduct falls within the legal definition of ‘murder’. Where the accused is found guilty, the judge or sheriff will also decide the length of the sentence, value of fines payable and other penalties.
Juries in Scotland
If there is a jury, the jury determines questions of fact: their role is to decide whether the accused is guilty or not guilty. In Scotland, there is a difference between solemn proceedings (serious offences tried before a judge and jury) and summary proceedings (less serious cases tried before a sheriff or justice of the peace, without a jury). Depending on the seriousness of the offence you are charged with, there may or may not be a jury at the trial.
If you are to be tried in solemn proceedings, there are procedures in place during the jury selection process to ensure that no one who knows you, or who is biased against you, will be on the jury.
Contact our Court Representation Lawyers in Ayrshire
The above information is a general guide to what you can expect in court. This will, however, vary according to the court in which you will appear, the crime you are accused of and the timings of your court proceedings. At Nellany & Co., we will always keep you updated on what exactly you can expect in your own individual circumstances, and guide you through the court process as smoothly as possible. We will answer any questions you or your loved ones may have about the court process, and make sure that your rights are respected at all times. Contact us as early as possible on 01294 677 511 or using our online form.
From our offices in North Ayrshire, we serve clients all across Scotland, including Saltcoats and Ardrossan, Skelmorlie and Stewarton, Ayr and Irvine, Kilwinning and West Kilbride, Troon and Prestwick, Largs and Fairlie, Kilmarnock and Kilmaurs.