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November 24, 2015
Tips for Attending Court: Courtroom Etiquette

By Samantha D’Silva

Attending court can be a daunting experience, particularly when you are unsure about what to say, what to wear or how to prepare for court. Below are some basic tips on courtroom etiquette.

Preparation Prior to the Court Date

If you need to obtain legal advice, it is important that you do so as soon as possible. Do not leave it to the last minute to start contacting lawyers. Allow yourself sufficient time to contact a lawyer and obtain legal advice, this will enable you to be prepared and likely reduce unnecessary stress prior to your court date.

Make sure you know the date and time of your court event and the location of the court. If you are unsure about the details, contact the Court. It is also a good idea to plan how you will get to court, and if necessary where you will park.

If you need to bring documents with you, prepare your documents well before the court date. Do not leave it to the last minute to collect documents or make copies of documents.

Make arrangements prior to the court date for time off work, and baby-sitters for your children. Often court events can take longer than expected, be prepared for this.

What Should I Wear?

A courtroom is a formal setting and you should dress appropriately. As a rule of thumb, dress as if you are attending a formal job interview, that is, neat and professional.

When Should I Get There?

Allow yourself ample time to travel to court, park and find your court room.

What Do I Do When I Get to Court?

In most instances you will need to check in with the appropriate court staff member when you arrive so the court knows you are there.

Locate Your Courtroom

If you are entering or exiting a courtroom whilst court is in session, at the entrance of the Court room, you should bow to the Judge/Magistrate or Registrar.

You must stand if the Judge/Magistrate or Registrar is leaving the courtroom.

Before entering a courtroom your phone should be switched off.

Before your matter is called on, you will either need to wait in the court waiting room, or in the seats at the back of the courtroom. Whilst in court, remember that the presiding Judge/Magistrate or Registrar can see you, and most likely, hear you.

How to Behave When Your Matter is Called On

If you have a lawyer representing you, they will guide you during this procedure, and in most instances speak on your behalf.

If you are asked a question directly, and need to address the presiding judicial officer, you refer to a Judge or Magistrate as ‘Your Honour’, and a Registrar as ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’.

Be courteous, polite and respectful when addressing the court, staff or other parties.

Attending court can be made easier with legal representation. For further assistance please contact Samantha of LBH at sdsilva@lbandh.com.au