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Bench used in a
legal Law is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way effect is essential in the concept of interaction, as oppose ...
context can have several meanings. First, it can simply indicate the location in a
courtroom A courtroom is the enclosed space in which courts of law are held in front of a judge. A number of courtrooms, which may also be known as "courts", may be housed in a courthouse A courthouse or court house is a building that is home to a l ...

courtroom
where a
judge A judge is a person who presides over court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In th ...

judge
sits. Second, the term bench is a
metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of p ...
used to describe members of the
judiciary The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government i ...
collectively, or the judges of a particular court, such as the
Queen's Bench The Queen's Bench (; or, during the reign of a male monarch, the King's Bench ('), is the superior court in a number of jurisdictions within some of the Commonwealth realms. The original King's Bench, founded in 1215 in England, was one of the ...
or the Common Bench in
England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England and Wales forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows ...

England and Wales
, or the
federal Federal or foederal (archaic) may refer to: Politics General *Federal monarchy, a federation of monarchies *Federation, or ''Federal state'' (federal system), a type of government characterized by both a central (federal) government and states or ...
bench in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
. Third, the term is used to differentiate judges, who are referred to as "the bench", from or
barristers A barrister is a type of lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate An advocate is a professional in the field of law. Different countries' legal systems use the term with somewhat differing meanings. Th ...
, who are referred to as " the bar". The phrase "bench and bar" denotes all judges and lawyers collectively. The term "full bench" is used when all the judges of a certain court sit together to decide a
case Case or CASE may refer to: Containers * Case (goods) A case of some merchandise is a collection of items packaged together. A case is not a strict unit of measure. For consumer foodstuff such as canned goods, soft drink, soda, cereal, and such, ...
, as in the phrase "before the full bench", which is also referred to as "
en banc In law, an en banc session (; French for "in bench") (also known as ''in banc'', ''in banco'' or ''in bank'') is a session in which a case Case or CASE may refer to: Containers * Case (goods), a package of related merchandise * Case, the metalli ...
". The historical roots of the term come from judges formerly having sat on long seats or benches (freestanding or against a wall) when presiding over a
court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''Sta ...

court
. The bench is usually an elevated desk area that allows a judge to view the entire courtroom. The bench was a typical feature of the courts of the
Order of St. John The Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem ( la, Ordo Fratrum Hospitalis Sancti Ioannis Hierosolymitani), commonly known as the Knights Hospitaller (), the Knights of Rhodes, the Knights of Malta, or the Order of Saint John, ...
in
Malta Malta ( , , ), officially known as the Republic of Malta ( mt, Repubblika ta' Malta ) and formerly Melita, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies south of Italy, east of Tunisi ...

Malta
, such as at the
CastellaniaCastellania may refer to: * Castellania, Piedmont, a commune in Alessandria, Italy * Castellania (Valletta), the former law courts in Valletta, Malta * Terra Alta (comarca) or Castellania, a comarca in Catalonia, Spain * Inquisitor's Palace or Castel ...
, where judges and the nominated College of Advocates sat for court cases and review laws.


See also

* Bank#Etymology *
Bar (law) In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by i ...
*
Bench trial A bench trial is a trial In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its envi ...
*
Bencher Combined arms of the four Inns of Court. Clockwise from top left: Lincoln's Inn, Middle Temple, Gray's Inn, Inner Temple. A bencher or Master of the Bench is a senior member of an Inns of Court, Inn of Court in England and Wales or the Bar of No ...
*
En banc In law, an en banc session (; French for "in bench") (also known as ''in banc'', ''in banco'' or ''in bank'') is a session in which a case Case or CASE may refer to: Containers * Case (goods), a package of related merchandise * Case, the metalli ...
*
Full Court A Full Court (less formally, full bench) is a court of law A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state ...


References


Sources


''The Art of Writing Judgments'', Hon’ble Shri M. A. Bakshi, Vice President, ITAT, Chandigarh Bench

''Conduct on and off the Bench'', Hon’ble Shri P. P. Parikh, Vice President, ITAT, Hyderabad Bench
Courts Judiciaries {{Law-term-stub