I found it interesting that the WTS patterns the JC after the judges in the gates of Israel, only in that case it was not secret but in full view of the people in the gates.
*** it-1 p. 518 Court, Judicial ***The local court was situated at the gate of a city. (De 16:18; 21:19; 22:15, 24; 25:7; Ru 4:1) By “gate” is meant the open space inside the city near the gate. The gates were places where the Law was read to the congregated people and where ordinances were proclaimed. (Ne 8:1-3) At the gate it was easy to acquire witnesses to a civil matter, such as property sales, and so forth, as most persons would go in and out of the gate during the day. Also, the publicity that would be afforded any trial at the gate would tend to influence the judges toward care and justice in the trial proceedings and in their decisions. Evidently there was a place provided near the gate where the judges could comfortably preside. (Job 29:7) Samuel traveled in a circuit of Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah and “judged Israel at all these places,” as well as at Ramah, where his house was located.—1Sa 7:16, 17.
*** it-2 p. 234 Legal Case ***A person with a civil matter or a complainant in a criminal matter would bring his case to the judges. The other party would be called, witnesses were gathered together, and the hearing was conducted usually in a public place, most often at the city gates. (De 21:19; Ru 4:1) The judges would question the litigants and examine the evidence and testimony. They would render a verdict without delay unless evidence was lacking, or if the matter was too difficult, the judges would refer the case to a higher court. Sentences, such as flogging and the death penalty, were carried out immediately. There was no provision in the Law for imprisonment. Custody was employed only in a case in which Jehovah had to be consulted for a decision.—Le 24:12; see COURT, JUDICIAL; CRIME AND PUNISHMENT.