In addition to all the personnel with a formal role in a court session, others can also be present.
Journalists are often present during court cases, and special places are often reserved for them in many courts. Journalists have several important jobs in courts. Firstly, they help ensure that the public can see what is going on in court. Many judgements made by the courts can have an impact that affects others beyond the parties in a given case. Secondly, the presence of the media is a controlling factor in the courts. Journalists are often referred to as the guardians of justice in a democratic society.
Most court cases are open to the public and most courts have their own public areas. Spectators can be journalists, schools, next of kin, family and friends of the parties, or anyone else with an interest in the case.
In some types of cases, the court can rule that evidence is heard in camera. One example is criminal cases when the accused is under the age of 18. A second example is family and juvenile cases. In such instances, spectators are not allowed in the courtroom unless the judge permits it. They must respect the court and not interrupt the proceedings.
The court usher
In some cases, especially major criminal cases, a court usher will be present. He will usually be uniformed. The court usher's job is to assist the court and the people involved with practical matters during the session. These include helping witnesses with such matters as claims for remuneration, expenses and so on. The court ushers are often retired police officers.
The stenographer keeps a record of the court's proceedings and can perform practical tasks during the session. However, the presiding judge or another professional judge will often keep the record, avoiding the need for a stenographer.