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Bench refers to the seat where the judge sits in the courtroom, and the term is used to refer to the judge. It can be used to describe all the judges of a particular court, such as the second circuit bench, or “full bench”, which refers to all the judges of a court. It can also refer to judges in general, as in "bench and bar," a collective term for judges and lawyers.

The historical origin of the term comes from the benches that judges used to sit on in the courtroom while presiding over trials.

[Last updated in June of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]