How to Start an Introduction for a Court Observation Paper

by Sampson Quain

Going to court doesn't have to be nerve-racking – if you are there to watch the proceedings and write an observation paper for a class. These kinds of essays require students to attend civil, criminal or bench trials and to report their observations in an organized manner. The purpose of a court observation paper is for students to examine their reactions to the legal system, and to analyze whether their preconceptions are changed or confirmed by the things they observe. Begin the introduction to the paper with strong, active verbs that set up the atmosphere and type of case you observed.

Set the scene. Describe the kind of proceeding you attended, the date, time of day, number of other observers and the names of the judge, lawyers, plaintiff and defendant in the case.

Explain in a concise manner why you chose that particular proceeding. For example, if you observed a police brutality case, express your thoughts about excessive force in law enforcement.

Provide quick impressions that give a reader information about the judge, lawyers, plaintiff, defendant and witnesses. This gives a context for the rest of your paper by providing a human dimension to the legal aspects you will later describe in greater detail.


  • Though description is important, the main body of your paper should analyze and interpret the proceedings to determine the different ways in which the legal system operates.

About the Author

Sampson Quain is a screenwriter and filmmaker who began writing in 1996. He has sold feature and television scripts to a variety of studios and networks including Columbia, HBO, NBC, Paramount and Lionsgate. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting from the University of Southern California.

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