An officer of the court is a title applied to someone who works in the legal system. Although many people assume that only a lawyer or a judge are referred to by this title, this is not the case. The term also is used to describe a bailiff, court clerk, or justice of the peace. The type of person who wants to work in a courtroom is committed to the concept of justice through the practical application of the law. All can be divided into three categories: courtroom, investigation and service.
A court officer is often someone who makes decisions and has an impact on the outcome of a case. This includes judges, arbitrators, mediators and magistrates. In a jury-based system, the jury as a collective unit is considered an officer of the court, although an individual juror does not have this responsibility. Prosecutors and defense attorneys also fall into this group.
Coroners, medical examiners, subject matter experts, and other professionals are considered officers of the court as well. The use of their skills, equipment, and experience is often required to make a decision, elevating their status from witness to officer. Staff members who work to enforce the decision of the court, such as a marshal, constable or bail bondsman also can be considered court officers.
Other people in this category are interpreters, translators, and advocates. This is because of the courts' reliance on the services that these people provide to ensure a just and fair process. In many areas, social workers in child or youth courts are considered to be court officers, as they often act as advocates for the child.
In order to become an officer of the court, candidates must complete legal or judicial training. Depending on the position, this might be a short college program or a full law degree. It is important to note that lawyers must successful complete the bar examination.
During the hiring process, everyone who is going to work in the legal and justice system swears an oath to uphold the law and to act as an officer of the court. The purpose of this general term is clearly to indicate that everyone involved in the system is working toward a common goal. Personal interests and ambitions should not be relevant, because everyone works to serve the court.