Court and its people


Court is a building or room where all the information concerning a crime is given so that it can be judged. A court is a complex institution whose functioning depends upon many people: not only the judge but also the parties, their lawyers, witnesses, clerks, bailiffs, probation officers, administrators, and many others, including, in certain types of cases, jurors. Party is one of the persons or sides in a legal dispute. Lawyer is someone whose job is to advise people about laws, write formal agreements, or represent people in court. Witness is someone who sees a crime and can describe what happened. Clerk is an official in charge of the records of a court. Bailiff is an official of the legal system who watches prisoners and keeps order in a court of law. Probation officer is someone whose job is to watch, advise, and help people who have broken the law and are on probation. Probation is a system that allows some criminals not to go to prison, if they behave well and see a probation officer regularly, for a fixed period of time. Juror is a member of a jury. Jury is a group of 12 ordinary people who listen to details of a case in court and decide whether someone is guilty or not. Nevertheless, the central figure in any court is the judge. Judge is the official with authority to hear and decide how criminals should be punished. Judges vary enormously, not only from nation to nation but often within a single nation. For example, a rural justice of the peace in the United States untrained in the law, serving part-time, sitting alone in work clothes in a makeshift (made for temporary use) courtroom, collecting small fees or receiving a pittance for salary. He bears little resemblance to a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States a full-time, well-paid, black-robed professional, assisted by law clerks and secretaries, sitting in a marble palace with eight colleagues and deciding at the highest appellate level only questions of national importance. Yet both persons are judges.


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