News story

Advice on coming to court

General advice on attending a court or tribunal.

Lady walking into a court building

You can use our Court & Tribunal Finder service to find local court or tribunal contact details, facilities provided, parking information, and opening hours.

You should also be aware of our security advice on items that are not allowed in our buildings.

If you have any concerns about coming to a court or tribunal and what to expect please speak to a member of staff. If you are interested in visiting the court before your hearing, staff may be able to arrange that for you. Staff can advise you on procedures, give you the forms you need. They cannot give you legal advice. If you need legal advice you may be able to get it free from a law centre, Citizens Advice or a consumer advice centre or you can contact Community Legal Advice (tel 0845 345 4345).

Who are the people in court

We know that coming to court as a witness or to give evidence can be a daunting experience. To help put you at ease we have created these short videos to introduce you to the people you will see in the courtroom.

The magistrates’ court

The Crown Court

The Citizens Advice Witness Service provides free and independent support for both prosecution and defence witnesses in criminal courts in England and Wales. Victims and witnesses are entitled to visit the court before the trial date to familiarise themselves with the building, the court room, and to try any special measures that have been agreed. You can arrange these visits via the Witness Service.

Most courts and tribunals have separate waiting areas for victims, witnesses and jurors if applicable.

As you may be at court for a while on the day of the trial, you may like to bring some things to help you pass the time, like a book, newspaper or magazine.

Help available for customers with a disability

If you have a disability and would like help to access our information and services, please contact a member of staff at the court or tribunal you are visiting to discuss what help you need. If you are a textphone user you should dial 18001 before the relevant court or tribunal telephone number:

Code of practice and Witness Charter

There is a code of practice governing services to be provided in England and Wales to victims of criminal conduct which occurred in England and Wales.

The Witness Charter sets out how you can expect to be treated by the police if you are a witness to a crime or incident, and if you are asked to give evidence in a criminal court.

Juror advice and help

For information on when to arrive on the first day, please see your confirmation letter. For the days that follow, you will be told when to arrive at court. The court normally sits from 10am to 4:30pm each day. Sometimes the judge may ask you to sit more or less hours, depending on the way the trial progresses. Court staff will tell you about times for lunch.

Court staff might ask you to provide a contact name and number of a family member or friend in case they need to speak to someone in the unlikely event of an emergency.

Find out more about jury service.

Published 13 March 2017
Last updated 5 September 2017 + show all updates
  1. Added customer videos
  2. First published.