Going to court can be a difficult experience for families. You may or may not know the charges faced by your family member or the details of the alleged incident.

If you had been present at the time of the offence, you could be called as a witness.

Whatever the circumstances, going to court can be intimidating and cause anxiety. The court room processes and the language used during a hearing can be confusing.

This section of the website has information to help you prepare for your court trip or to understand what has occurred following a hearing. We hope it will assist you. To gain a better idea you may also find it useful to ask someone else who has been to court before or to talk with your relative’s solicitor about what to expect.

The MiniTrial website offers an interactive view of criminal and civil courts in Scotland so that you can familiarise yourself with the courtroom and where people sit. Click here to access the website. Hover your mouse cursor over the name tags to learn more about that function.

If you know you will be called as a witness in a case, or are worried that you might be, you can access help through the Victim Support Witness Service (England and Wales) or Victim Support ScotlandThey can offer support and advice through the court process.

Watch this information video from the Oxford Law Faculty for parents facing sentencing in a criminal court.

If you would like any further information or require support or advice please ring our national freephone helpline 0808 808 2003 or contact us via email info@prisonersfamilies.org

To make it easy to print off the information provided in this section, either in Word or PDF format, we have created a library of Information Sheets which you can access by clicking here.

This page was updated on November 2018