U.S. Courts Design Guide
Witness Waiting Room. When not testifying, witnesses are isolated in witness
waiting rooms. Each room is provided lounge or conference furnishings.
Witness Box. When testifying, witnesses sit in the witness box. The box must be
partially enclosed and include a modesty panel. Testifying witnesses must be seen full
face as much as possible.
Grand jury witnesses receive, examine, and return exhibits. A fixed shelf for this
purpose must be part of the witness box design.
When an interpreter is used, the interpreter must be seated next to or slightly behind
the witness. The primary focus must remain on the witness. The witness stand may be
on floor level or elevated one step (6 inches or 150 mm) above floor level.
The witness stand must be handicapped-accessible. Sufficient floor space and vertical
clearance must be provided to maneuver a wheelchair and to allow witnesses and
interpreters with disabilities to assume the same position as all other witnesses and
interpreters. The access route to the witness box must be the same for all persons. A
ramp or lift may be used for witness boxes having a one step (6 inches or 150 mm)
rise. See ADAAG and the UFAS for detailed accessibility criteria.
Jury Seating. The jury seating area may be provided in three or four tiers, with the
first row at floor level. Jurors must be able to see, hear, and be seen by the witness.
During examination of the witness, all jurors must be able to see the U.S. Attorney
and the witness as close to full face as possible.
Jurors must be provided with comfortable, fixed-base, swivel armchairs. A writing
surface must be provided, either as tablet arms on the chairs or separate tables or
counters. The writing surface must not exceed 18 inches (450 mm) in depth.
Access to seating for jurors with disabilities must be provided using the same path as
all other jurors. Clear floor space and vertical clearance allow space to maneuver a
wheelchair, and also allow jurors with disabilities to participate from the same position
as all other jurors. A dedicated wheelchair space or removable chair can provide the
necessary space. See ADAAG and UFAS for detailed accessibility criteria.
Court Reporter/Recorder Station. The court reporter/recorder must be able to see
and hear all persons. The court reporter/recorder station must be located close to the
witness box. Furniture and equipment should be movable to suit individual
A drawer for storage must be provided. The drawer must be at least six inches high
and lockable. In addition, a lockable, built-in cabinet must be provided for equipment.
The station must be adaptable for barrier-free accessibility. See ADAAG and UFAS
for detailed accessibility criteria.