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The presiding judge sits on a raised bench and controls all court proceedings. The judge must remain impartial and unbiased throughout the trial.

The judge is not given any information about the case before it starts and therefore will make a decision based only on the evidence that is presented in court. The judge is usually the “finder of fact” and will decide whether or not the accused is legally guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will give information to the jury on the law and their role during the trial and will make legal rulings, based on arguments of the lawyers. In a criminal trial, the judge pronounces a sentence upon the accused after a conviction. The judge is referred to as “Your Honour” in Provincial Court and as “My Lord/My Lady” in Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal for BC.

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