Appearing in Court as a Witness

Last updated on June 8, 2021

As a witness, you have an important role to play in the criminal justice system. Witnesses help police solve crimes and judges make their decisions. Your honesty and ability to provide details about what you saw and know about a crime will contribute to the evidence gathered and reviewed in court. The criminal justice system cannot work without it.

If you are attending court as a witness, even if you have already given your written statement to police, you may be required to testify. The information in your statement cannot become evidence in the trial unless you give it to the court through oral testimony. This means telling the court, under oath. 

If you are also a victim of crime, see the victim section of this website for information.

When the witness is a child or other vulnerable person who may need special help to testify, be sure to tell Crown counsel. They may apply to the court for accommodations or special help for the witness. For more information, please visit: courtprep website.

Pre-Trial Appearances

There will be several court appearances, called pre-trial appearances or interim hearings, before the accused goes to trial. For more information, visit Court Appearances Before the Trial.

Preparing for Court

Testifying in court can be stressful. Being prepared can help. Visit Preparing for Court to understand what your responsibilities are and what you can expect to take place during the trial.

Arriving at the Courthouse

You may be attending court to watch or you may have been requested to testify as a witness.

If you have been requested to attend court to testify as a witness by Crown counsel, go to the Crown counsel reception desk. Bring your letter requesting that you attend court. The receptionist will direct you to the courtroom where the case will be held. They will also let you know where you can wait before you are called to testify.

If you are attending court to observe and have not been requested to testify, you may go directly to the courtroom.

If you are a victim of crime, your victim service worker can assist you with court appearances.

More Information

Visit Court Hearings for more information.

Criminal Justice Glossary

Check our alphabetical list of criminal justice terms along with their definitions.