TACKLING ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR AND ITS CAUSES
Court clerksEnsure that proceedings are conducted within the proper legal framework. They also have a duty to assist anyone who appears before the court unrepresented.
Justices' clerkThe most senior court clerk in an area. They will also hear applications for without notice hearings to decide if the case should be heard by the magistrate.
MagistratesMagistrates (also known as justices of the peace) are ordinary members of the public who give their time and experience voluntarily to serve their local community. Magistrates usually sit in a bench of three and have the assistance of a qualified legal adviser. Magistrates will consider the evidence in the case and reach a verdict, where offenders plead guilty or are found guilty they will decide the appropriate sentence.
Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)Is the agency responsible for prosecuting criminal offences, which include breaches of anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs). A CPS lawyer will review each case. The decision whether to prosecute or not will be dependant on whether there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction and also whether it is in the public interest to proceed.
CPS anti-social behaviour expert prosecutorsA network of CPS specialist anti-social behaviour prosecutors across England and Wales which is working to improve the CPS response to anti-social behaviour by developing relationships with relevant agencies and providing advice and support to CPS prosecutors on anti-social behaviour matters.
Anti-social behaviour response courtsWithin the existing Magistrates' Courts Service there is also now a network of specialist anti-social behaviour response courts across the country, existing courts that are better able to respond to the issue of anti-social behaviour. They ensure that magistrates and court staff are specially trained and follow a framework - including specialist sessions, witness care, local community engagement and appropriate media strategies. This ensures courts are able to respond properly to anti-social behaviour cases in a visible and consistent way.
JudgesA Judge is either an experienced barrister or solicitor. They sit in the Crown Court and are known as Recorders or Circuit Judges. They determine legal issues and direct the jury on the law. The jury decides whether a person is guilty or not and the judge will decide what sentence a person should receive if they plead guilty or are found guilty. When sentencing the judge will decide if it is appropriate to make a CRASBO (an anti-social behaviour order on conviction)
District Judges (Magistrates ' Courts)

A District Judge will sit alone in the Magistrates' Court. They are legally qualified and will decide whether a person is guilty or not and decide what sentence they should receive. District Judges exercise the same powers as a Magistrates' Court comprised of three magistrates.

District Judges sitting in the County Court will hear anti-social behaviour injunction applications.
Legal advisersLegal advisers are legally qualified staff employed by HMCS who provide advice and guidance to magistrates on the law, practice and procedure. A legal adviser will always be present when a Magistrates' Court is sitting. Legal advisers may exercise case management functions such as considering whether to grant leave for a without notice interim ASBO.
Witness liaison officersEach Crown and Magistrates' Court has a witness liaison officer who act as a central point for victims and witnesses, providing information and advice on court procedure
Court ushers

Ushers prepare the courtroom ready for the day's business and ensure the smooth running of the proceedings.

During a trial they escort the judge in and out of the courtroom and facilitate with the jury, witnesses and the taking of the oath including court exhibits, such as items of evidence.

They interface with all court users including; court staff, Crown Prosecution Service, police, prison escort services, witness liaison officers, the witness service, youth offending teams and members of the public such as defendants, witnesses and jurors.

SolicitorsSolicitors undertake most of the work in magistrates' courts and county courts, preparing cases and many acting as advocates. Some solicitors enjoy rights of audience in the higher courts.
Barristers

Barristers provide specialist advice on the merits of particular cases and may act as advocates in all courts. Barristers usually receive their instructions through a solicitor.

ARTICLE LAST UPDATED: 29/04/2008

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