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Approach refers to moving toward the bench, a witness, or the jury box in court. An attorney may approach the bench in order to have a conversation with the judge and opposing counsel off the record and/or out of the jury's earshot. An attorney or juror must obtain permission from the judge to approach; e.g. "your honor, may I approach the bench?" For example, in People v. Maher, 89 N.Y.2d 318 (1996), the court referenced “two prospective jurors ask[ing] to approach the bench after the trial” to ask the judge a question. 

[Last updated in November of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]