What Judges Do
- Judges oversee court cases.
- They make sure the rules about court cases are followed.
- Unless there is a jury, they will decide the outcome of a case based on the law and the evidence presented.
At the start of any court case the judge will enter the courtroom and take a seat at the front and center of the courtroom. The people in the courtroom stand when the court clerk announces that the judge is coming. This is a sign of respect for the judge and the court.
Judges make sure that court cases follow certain rules and that the law is applied fairly. Judges listen carefully to both sides and to any witnesses in a case. A judge will also consider any documents that are being used in the case. The judge can ask questions if there is something that is not clear.
Throughout the case the judge will consider the law and make decisions about things such as:
- evidence that will be allowed
- questions that can be asked
- questions that must be answered
- whether the case needs to be adjourned to a later date
Unless there is a jury, the judge will decide the case after all the evidence and arguments have been heard. Judges give reasons for their decisions. Either party can appeal the decision if they think that the judge made a mistake.
If it is a jury case the judge does not make the decision about the outcome. Instead the judge tells the jury how the laws apply and what to consider when reaching a decision. The jury then makes the decision. Juries do not give reasons for their decisions.