Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Court Clerk Training Can Get You Into Municipal Courts Across Canada

If you enjoy watching court TV, have an interest in the judicial system and in high profile court cases then perhaps a career in Court Support Services is for you. Within this field are two positions that ensure court trials are conducted as smoothly as possible. These positions are Court Clerks and Court Monitors/Reporters. In order gain a job in either position, you must attend Court Clerk Training that includes municipal court training at a post-secondary institution.

Centennial College in Toronto, Ontario offers a two-semester program that results in an Ontario College Certificate and offers hands-on skills training that has been approved by the Ministry of the Attorney General. To apply, students must present at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. Academic requirements include compulsory English 12 or U, or skills assessment, or equivalent.

Having been designed with the recommendation and approval of the Ministry of the Attorney General, the court clerk training guarantees that students are learning all they need to know in order to enter the field upon graduation. Within the program, students learn about family and criminal court, current issues in Canadian law, word processing, ethics and professional conduct, and more. This is achieved through courses such as: Court Clerk Criminal, Ethics and Professional Conduct, Communications, Word Processing Applications and more. Classrooms within this program are small. Also used are computer labs and courtroom settings that simulate real life situations. In fact, the courtroom is on Centennial College’s campus, allowing students to obtain hands-on training (including taking an oath and presenting before a judge) at a convenient location. To complement this simulated training, students take numerous trips to various courtrooms and tribunal hearings to see, firsthand, exactly what their role will be within the courtroom setting. In order to graduate from the Court Support Services program, students are required to attain a minimum C grade average and an overall minimum GPA of 2.0 for graduation.

Upon graduation from their municipal court training, students either become court reporters or court clerks. If a person chooses to become a court clerk, he or she maintains and keeps court records. This entails: typing, filing, attending court appointments and answering calls. In addition, court clerks are in charge of contacting witnesses, lawyers and litigants and instruct them on when to appear in court for a case. Once the trial is in progress, they prepare dockets of cases to be called out as well as administer oaths to witnesses, jurors and grand jurors. Lastly, these professionals authenticate copies of court records and handle financial record keeping, act as custodians of the court’s seal and records, collect fees and other payments or deposits made to the court, process petitions and warrants and handle court correspondences.

On the other hand, court reporters uses electronic monitoring equipment to record, verbatim, a variety of assigned court proceedings. This involves monitoring what is said in court using a headset, recording what is said using transcribing machinery and playing back recordings as required. The court reporter must also keep a running log as the trial proceeds. In this log, he or she notes relevant data according to the numerical calibrator. He or she then prepares accurate transcripts and maintains a file of appeal transcripts.

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