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Bristol Crown Court – Marshalling and Court Observation Schemes

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The Bristol team of circuit judges would like to increase the opportunities we can offer students and legal professionals to learn more about the work of a Crown Court judge. To this end we have decided to pilot 2 schemes in Bristol during the current sitting year:

  • a Marshalling Scheme (operating in addition to existing judicial commitments to marshalling schemes), and
  • a Court Observation Scheme.

We anticipate that opportunities to marshal will be offered primarily to people who have reached the professional legal qualification stage of their careers, and/or to legal practitioners contemplating judicial appointment. Successful applicants to either scheme are likely to live, study, or work in or around Bristol.

See attached details of the schemes and the common application form.

Bristol Crown Court - Marshalling Scheme and Court Observation Scheme

Bristol Crown Court now operates two schemes whereby students of law and legal practitioners can find out more about the work of a circuit judge in the Crown Court.

The schemes are intended primarily for undergraduate and postgraduate students, people studying for professional legal qualifications and people contemplating application for a judicial appointment. Application to both schemes is made using the same form, which should be sent by email to .

The Marshalling Scheme

Opportunities to marshal are only offered to a small number of applicants. Successful applicants will be invited to spend 2 days with a circuit judge at Bristol Crown Court during one of our designated marshalling weeks, normally the first full week of each month. Proposed marshalling weeks for the sitting year 2024 – 25 are listed below. These are subject to judicial availability, which it is not always possible to determine in advance.

Marshals will meet the judge at the start of the court day and will be offered an opportunity to discuss the cases listed either before or after the hearing. Marshals normally observe hearings from the Bench, which provides a unique perspective on courtroom advocacy.

The Court Observation Scheme

Court observation visits last for 2 days. These opportunities are offered to small groups of applicants approximately every 6 weeks during the academic year, again subject to judicial availability. Court observation dates for the sitting year 2024 – 25 are listed below. Unlike the Marshalling Scheme, there is no scope to vary the days upon which the Court Observation Scheme operates.

Successful applicants to the Court Observation Scheme start their visit by meeting (as a group) with a circuit judge in a court room. The judge will provide a brief introduction to the work of the Crown Court, which will generally incorporate a Q&A.

Attendees will be told in outline about cases due to be heard in Bristol Crown Court that day. Subject to limited exceptions, they then choose which cases to observe, and do so from the public gallery. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions of the judge they have been observing at the end of the sitting day

Marshalling Scheme weeks 2024-25

w/c 3 June 2024, and 1 July 2024 (application deadline 1 May 2024)

w/c 5 August 2024, 2 September 2024 and 7 October 2024 (application deadline 8 July 2024)

w/c 4 November 2024, 2 December 2024 and 6 January 2025 (application deadline 8 October 2024)

w/c 3 February 2025, 3 March 2024 and 7 April 2025 (application deadline 9 January 2025).

Court Observation Scheme dates 2024-25

20 & 21 May 2024 15 & 16 July 2024 16 & 17 Sept 2024 28 & 29 October 2024

9 & 10 December 2024 27 & 28 January 2025 24 & 24 February 2025


Bristol CC marshalling and court observation scheme - application