Court Observation

The first court I decided to visit was at 393 University Av. on September 11th after my classes and got there on time for a court session at 12:00 pm. The security was very strict. They looked through my backpack and made me take everything out of my pockets. After the security check we started looking for courtrooms with trials going on and I discovered that not much was happening at that time. A very nice woman told me that there was an interesting case happening in room 702 so I headed down to the 7th floor from the 10th.

In front of the courtroom there was a family waiting for the trial to begin. We engaged in a conversation which was very helpful because they were part of the trial and I got a lot of background information on the case before it began. The victim told me that she was hit by a car at a crosswalk on her way to school, and seven years later the case has finally begun. She explained that she doesn’t remember anything from the day of the incident and that she has long term health problems.

When the attorneys arrived we all proceeded into the courtroom and I was surprised by the size of the room. The judge arrived shortly after into the small courtroom and we all stood up to honor him. Once the case was on its way, it was interesting the way the attorneys were addressing each other using the words “my friend”. The defense attorney seemed like he was trying to complicate things with technicality about the doctors that examined the victim and trying to hint that they weren’t qualified for the given situation.

The judge disagreed, saying that the defense attorney is making matters more complicated then need be. The judge then addressed the witnesses to leave the courtroom and to not discuss any legal matters regarding the case. Following that, the jury arrived and was addressed by the judge, who was explaining the procedures on rules to follow by law. We were then dismissed by the judge from the court until 2:30pm for a lunch break. I was approached by the courts typist and was asked if I would be interested in knowing the details of his job.

He showed me the equipment he uses and explained about the education which was required for the job and how difficult it was to graduate and get to where he is today. Although he does make a six figure salary! After an hour and a half of sitting through the trial, I gained a lot of knowledge about the process involving the courtroom. It was a different atmosphere than I am used to, I feel lucky with the trial I attended and am looking forward to the following two trials. The next trial I ended up sitting in on was at The Federal Court of Ontario at 330 University Av.

The building was old and beautiful with high ceilings and marble floors. The security helped me a lot and told me there was only one trial proceeding for the day at 2:30 in room 8-1. I waited for about half an hour before it began. This time I wasn’t searched, which I was surprised about, and they only asked to see I. D, which I didn’t understand the purpose of. Soon after I walked in, I noticed a large sign above the judge that said “Justicia”, which I then realized was the same sign that was at the previous court at 393 University Av.

The case started off at a slow pace and I had time to look around the room and discovered that it was a larger space, the amount of people involved were greater, and the number of people observing was larger as well. There were a lot of economical terms being used which I did not understand, but I did manage to realize that the man being sued was a CEO of a large company. It was interesting that he was being questioned by his own attorney, because I thought it was the other way around.

Between the large numbers of terms used which I did not understand, I realized the man was being sued by the share holders of the company he worked for, which explained why he was describing the expenses in detail which the company made throughout the 90’s. Everyone involved was going over financial books and statements from the past decade. I got very bored because I did not understand the terminology they were using throughout the trial. It gave me more time to look at the structure of the building, inside and out, noticing the aging of the structure in many ways.

I did not need to stay as long as the previous trial because the process was repetitive, and that was all I got out of my time there. The final courtroom I attended was at the Old City Hall at 60 Queen St. West on September. 15th, at 11:30. The security at this location was more strict which I wasn’t expecting due to the previous visit, I walked into the first courtroom I saw that had a trial in progress and sat down quietly in the back. Once I sat down, I realized that this wasn’t a usual trial I was expecting to observe.

In fact it was many smaller ones, going really fast, one after another regarding different situations. When everything was quiet, I noticed a large television in the front of the courtroom with a woman on it. She was in jail on a video conference regarding her lawsuit. The thing that astonished me the most was the foul language she was using to address the judge and the attorney, also the fact that the judge did not addressed it at all. That case was dismissed quickly, and her wishes were not granted. The next few cases that followed were mostly about rescheduling another date to continue the trials.

One of the most memorable moments from the courtroom was when a short middle aged woman entered the room and addressed the judge and attorneys regarding her case. She had a large bruise on her right knee which she was picking at while talking to the judge, and at the end, it turned out that her case was not scheduled for that day. She was using a great amount of foul language which again, was not addressed by the judge however she exited the courtroom peacefully and without any other distractions. Following that there were no other cases scheduled for the morning session.