Main Role of Judge and Counsel
The judge ensures that all parties are given the opportunity to have their case presented and considered as fully as possible. During the case the judge asks questions on any point of fact or law that he or she needs clarification on. The judge decides on all procedural matters that arise in the hearing.
A party can appear as a litigant in person, or he or she can be represented by lawyers. A party can be represented by solicitors who have conduct of the litigation, and who attend the hearing but generally take a passive role. A party can also instruct an advocate to present his or her case in court (this can be a barrister or another professional who has relevant rights of audience).
When both the prosecution and the defence have presented their evidence, the prosecutor and the defence lawyer summarise the evidence and present arguments to support their case. Then, depending on where the case is heard, the jury (in the Crown Court), or the magistrate or the district judge (in the Magistrates' Court) then decide whether or not the defendant is guilty.
The judge decides whether evidence is admissible.
In cases involving a jury, the judge sets out, for the jury, the law on each of the charges made and what the prosecution must prove. The judge also gives directions about the duties of the jury before they go to the jury deliberation room to consider the verdict.