Criminal matters and disputes between individuals sometimes end up in court. Courts are a formal setting where legal matters can be decided. A judge, and sometimes a jury, will hear evidence from both parties before deciding the case.

What Courts Do

Courts are where disputes can be resolved when the people involved cannot settle matters on their own. Courts are also where people who have been charged with a crime appear. If the person does not admit the crime there will be a trial in court.

Alternatives to Court

In many situations disputes can be resolved without going to court. Sometimes people can agree just by talking things over. Sometimes they decide to get help from someone trained to resolve disputes.

People in Court

People have different jobs to do in running courts and trying cases. There is always a judge and some courtroom staff. There is usually a lawyer for each side, or if it is a criminal case, a lawyer for the accused and a Crown Prosecutor.

Going to Court

Courts are formal places. Information about how to act if you have to appear in court or testify as a witness can help you prepare and be more comfortable.

Specialized Courts

Some courts deal with only certain types of cases. For example, there are courts for youth who are accused of committing a crime, courts to deal with relationship violence, and courts to deal with family law cases (divorce and related matters).