Court Guidance Notes

Guide To Supporting Victims & Witnesses in Court


This information tells you about the support you can expect from us if you’re giving evidence in court about Anti-Social Behaviour.

 


What court will you need to go to?


ASB cases are typically heard by a county court. The actual court that you attend will usually depend on where the ASB incident took place.


The case will be heard by a judge alone, with no jury and the proceedings are often open. This means that people not necessarily connected with the case can come along to the gallery. 


When the case is called, you'll be taken to the court room and seated to the right of the judge.


When you enter the witness box you’ll be asked to swear an oath on the bible or a book of your faith. If you don’t follow a religion you will be asked to ‘affirm’. This is a declaration that what you are saying is true.


You’ll be asked some questions about the case by the Neighbourhood Officer or our lawyer. You may also be cross-examined by the defence lawyer if there is one.

 


Will the court process be explained to you?


Yes, before you go to Court you'll have a meeting with the Neighbourhood Officer responsible for the case. At this meeting we’ll go over the witness statements, give examples of what you can expect in court, discuss any concerns you may have and arrange any travel requirements for you.

 


Who will support you at court?


One of our Neighbourhood Officers will attend the hearing and support you. If the case is being handled by our solicitors, you will meet them in the morning before the hearing. You wont be expected to be in the court room until you are called as a witness, however as most ASB cases are heard in open court, you can sit in if you want to.

 


What happens if you change your mind about attending court?


Your account of the incidents you witnessed or experienced will be contained in the witness statement. When it comes to the success of a case, its better for you to present this statement in court, but this will always be your choice. We hope that with the support we give you, you’ll be comfortable enough to give evidence yourself. But we do understand that people get nervous about going to court. We’ll never pressure anyone to do something that they are uncomfortable with. The best type of evidence is given in person. This enables the judge to get a real feel of the impact the ASB has had on you and your community.

 


How will you find out the court’s decision?


A Neighbourhood Officer will meet with everyone who attends court to discuss the court’s decision and explain what will happen next. This is also an opportunity for you to ask questions if there is anything you don’t understand.

 


Words used in court


Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC):

This is an agreement signed by the person responsible for anti-social behaviour. It outlines the behaviour that is expected of them. If it’s breached, it may be used as evidence in court to support further legal action.

 

Injunction:

An injunction is an order from the court that tells someone to stop undertaking a particular action against someone else.


Interim injunction:

This is a temporary order which is made at a court in advance of the full hearing.


Undertaking:

An undertaking is a promise made to the court by the perpetrator to either do or not do something.


Possession case:

This is a hearing to decide if a tenant should be evicted from their home.


Possession order:

A possession order is an order that entitles a landlord to legally evict a tenant.


Suspended possession order:

This is a possession order which has been deferred on the condition that the behaviour is not repeated.

 


Where You Can Find More Information


Victim Support

Information and support service for victims and witnesses.

Victim Support Line: 0845 3030 900

www.victimsupport.org.uk

 

Gov.uk

Information on going to court as a victim or witness.

www.gov.uk/going-to-court-victim-witness