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UK victims

Interactive decision tree

Interactive decision tree

Please use our interactive tool to understand more about the criminal and civil justice systems and how the two systems can interact. It outlines the main steps, and has been specifically created with the individuals and smaller business victim in mind.

Please carefully read about the main differences between the criminal and civil justice systems before using the decision tree.

Criminal: public prosecution


The trial will either be arranged to take place on a certain date (fixed) or it will be scheduled for a certain week, the exact day of which will depend on when a court becomes available (warned or floating).

As a victim you will arrive at court and tell reception. You will likely be met by a volunteer from Witness Support who will take you to a waiting room. You will probably be offered your witness statement to read in order to refresh your memory. When the court is ready you will then be called to give evidence. Like all prosecution witnesses you will be examined in chief by the prosecution, then cross-examined by the defence, then, if necessary, re-examined by the prosecution. The judge may also ask any relevant questions.

Once you’ve given evidence you will either be released or be asked to stay in the court in case you are needed later.