How exactly do we visit a Crown Court? Watch

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JakeCryo
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So as part of my Criminal Law module I have been asked to visit a court. It seems my ever so busy lecturer doesnt have the time to reply to my emails so I was wondering if anyone here could explain how the process works? Do I just show up and walk in? Do I call beforehand or is there a sign in thing or what?
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_Sinnie_
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When I had to visit a court, we went to a Magistrate's and just turned up. If we weren't allowed in (i.e. press restrictions) then there was a sign up. We then just sat at the back - they tended to be empty any way.

Not sure if crown court would be different - ring your nearest and ask!
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JakeCryo
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(Original post by _Sinnie_)
When I had to visit a court, we went to a Magistrate's and just turned up. If we weren't allowed in (i.e. press restrictions) then there was a sign up. We then just sat at the back - they tended to be empty any way.

Not sure if crown court would be different - ring your nearest and ask!
Thanks I guess ill just show up and see what happens. We can visit either crown or magistrate but I've been told crown is alot more interesting.
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_Sinnie_
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I've just realised that I'm wrong, we went to the crown court (but it possibly had magistrates cases, I don't recall - this was over 3 years ago). Either way, we just turned up and walked in.

In terms of 'interest', it's going to depend on which cases are being heard. We went and had some being dismissed in 5 minutes (guilty plea - date set for sentencing; not guilty plea - date set for trial), so you can end up in some 'duds'.

You obviously want a trial, but I'm not sure you can find out what stage a case is at - the courts wil llist the cases, but I don't think they tell you what is actually happening - though if a court room is booked for fewer cases then you could assume one of those is a trial.

We ended up in a trial for a historical case of sexual abuse - which we were surprised at, as the court room next to us had reporting restrictions on, so we wondered why this one didn't.
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JakeCryo
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(Original post by _Sinnie_)
I've just realised that I'm wrong, we went to the crown court (but it possibly had magistrates cases, I don't recall - this was over 3 years ago). Either way, we just turned up and walked in.

In terms of 'interest', it's going to depend on which cases are being heard. We went and had some being dismissed in 5 minutes (guilty plea - date set for sentencing; not guilty plea - date set for trial), so you can end up in some 'duds'.

You obviously want a trial, but I'm not sure you can find out what stage a case is at - the courts wil llist the cases, but I don't think they tell you what is actually happening - though if a court room is booked for fewer cases then you could assume one of those is a trial.

We ended up in a trial for a historical case of sexual abuse - which we were surprised at, as the court room next to us had reporting restrictions on, so we wondered why this one didn't.
Just got back. You were pretty much right ( I went to a Crown Court). I just showed up told the receptionist I was a student and she directed me to a trial she thought would be most appropriate. Sat there awkwardly, wasnt allowed to take notes and just watched. Was quite awkward to be honest.
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_Sinnie_
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How come you weren't allowed to take notes? Were there active reporting restrictions?

Generally no one even paid us any attention when we went, except for the time when the victim's mum was there and wanted us to check outside to make sure the defendants had gone before she went. It does feel a little awkward, a little like eavesdropping on someone's life.
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Katty3
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(Original post by _Sinnie_)
How come you weren't allowed to take notes? Were there active reporting restrictions?

Generally no one even paid us any attention when we went, except for the time when the victim's mum was there and wanted us to check outside to make sure the defendants had gone before she went. It does feel a little awkward, a little like eavesdropping on someone's life.
You aren't allowed to take notes in court. It's just one of the rules.

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_Sinnie_
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(Original post by Katty3)
You aren't allowed to take notes in court. It's just one of the rules.

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We did... Even in the sexual abuse one. Reporters make notes, no?
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JakeCryo
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(Original post by _Sinnie_)
How come you weren't allowed to take notes? Were there active reporting restrictions?

Generally no one even paid us any attention when we went, except for the time when the victim's mum was there and wanted us to check outside to make sure the defendants had gone before she went. It does feel a little awkward, a little like eavesdropping on someone's life.

Not sure why but it was at the Judges request.
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Pushtaki
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I went to observe a trial at the Old Bailey a few months ago. Considering you have your phone taken and often notes are banned, it does seem a bit pointless. It doesn't add anything to your CV or advance your knowledge. The cases are just often quite interesting.
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sonicmailman
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Crown court can be boring if you are sitting in on cases which had been adjourned, simply because you don't have a clue what's happening. Cases can also last for hours.

In the Magistrates however, you get to see lots of cases within the hour, and grasp what's happening a lot easier.

Magistrates was better IMO.

However, if you are looking for more serious cases such as murder trials... Then go to Crown.
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vis break2
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bruh you just walk in. I've done this soooo many times now
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LawKid96
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Well you are, judges discretion if you are allowed to. 99% of the time the judge doesn't mind
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LawKid96
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(Original post by Katty3)
You aren't allowed to take notes in court. It's just one of the rules.

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Well no, you are. The judges discretion whether you can take notes, 99% of the time they allow you
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HappyBuddah
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You can just go in, but be careful what you take in with you, I know of barristers who have had their lunches confiscated. The Old Bailey don't allow mobile phones, but there's a travel agents down the road who will phone sit for you. The court staff are pretty helpful, just tell them you're observing and they might pick out some interesting cases for you to see.
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Notoriety
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(Original post by LawKid96)
Well no, you are. The judges discretion whether you can take notes, 99% of the time they allow you
Old thread, not sure why you lot are bumping it.

But you're quite right. You are not allowed to by default, but you can request permission to make a few notes. If you're a student/journalist, they generally don't mind.
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seckie
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I went to a murder trial in my first year. The thing was, I inadvertently sat with the family and friends of the defendant who assumed I was the press. The defendants' scally girlfriend spent the whole day trying to wangle a 'gangster's moll' type exclusive from me. An utterly bizarre experience, to say the least.
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Brittcarvell
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Do you have to be a student may I ask?
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nk2321
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(Original post by Brittcarvell)
Do you have to be a student may I ask?
No - Most courts are open to the public and have a public gallery (seeating area) because the court process attempts to be as transparent as possible.
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Porridgefluff
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It’s really interesting - we went to the Old Bailey to watch part of a trial. Google for information first - you have to go through a lot of security to get in, and you aren’t allowed to take in any phones, cameras etc even if they are off and in your bag.
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