Ushers make sure that all the people connected with a case being
heard in court are in the right place and know what they have to do.
In Scotland, ushers working in sheriff courts are known as court
officers, and those working in the Court of Session and in the High
Court of Justiciary are known as macers.
Duties vary according to the kind of court the usher works in, but could include preparing the courtroom, clerical duties, calling witnesses and checking defendants and lawyers are present and ready to go into court.
If on duty in the courtroom, ushers would remain throughout the sitting and might:
Court ushers usually work from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
They may be required to work at other times if the court has late
sessions. Part-time posts are often available.
Ushers work in courtrooms and offices. Travel between courts may be involved, especially in rural areas. If they are a sworn usher, acting as jury escort, they may occasionally have to spend a night away from home in a hotel.
Ushers wear dark clothes and calf-length black gowns.
To be a court usher, you should:
Her Majesty's Court Service brings together magistrates' courts and
the court service into one organisation. It is an agency of the
Department of Constitutional Affairs and now oversees all courts in
England and Wales.
The Scottish Courts Service, an executive agency of the Scottish Executive, is responsible for running the 49 sheriff courts, the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary. The Scottish district courts are run by local authorities.
The Northern Ireland Court Service is part of the Civil Service and oversees all courts in the country.
There are magistrates’ and district courts in most towns and cities. County, crown and sheriff courts are found in larger towns and cities. The supreme courts are in London and Edinburgh.
There are prospects of promotion to supervising usher in charge of the work of a number of ushers. One supervising usher in each crown court also acts as a juror bailiff, responsible for explaining their duties to jurors and ensuring that they follow all the procedures correctly.
In Scotland, court officers and macers can be promoted to supervisory levels, running a team of officers or macers. They can also be promoted to administrative officer grade.
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