If you find yourself in a situation where you are required to attend court, it is recommended that you prepare by speaking with someone to get support, as well as seek information about the court system and the court process. Here are some basics things you need to know about the court system to get you prepared.
Dress appropriately – you do not have to wear a suit or tie, just aim to be neat and tidy.
Court security – many courts have airport style security. You and your belongings may be scanned and prohibited items such as knives will not be permitted in the court building.
Find the right courtroom when you arrive – many courthouses have more than one courtroom and you will need to find out where your case will be heard.
Contact a court officer and let them know you have arrived – they will ask you some questions about your case so they can let the judge, magistrate or other judicial officer know the status of the case. For example, the court officer will need to know if you intend on pleading guilty, not guilty, or need an adjournment.
Behave correctly – courts operate with some formalities such as bowing and standing to speak. Many people bow when they enter and leave the courtroom, this is to show respect to the court. In court you should:
• turn off your mobile phone
• not eat or drink
• sit quietly
• not interrupt proceedings
• not take photographs
• not make audio recordings of proceedings
• not speak to or approach any member of the jury
When your case is called and the judge, magistrate or other judicial officer is speaking to you, it is usual to stand up whenever you speak. You will be asked to stand at a microphone or to sit at the table which is called the bar table. It is important that you call judges or magistrates ‘your honour’ when you address them. If you are due to appear in court for any reason you should seek the advice of a lawyer.
Not only can a lawyer provide you with experienced advice and assist you throughout the entire legal process, they can also help to ease any nerves and explain things more simply to you. Here at The Quinn Group our experienced team of lawyers can provide you with more information on any legal proceedings. Submit an online enquiry or visit our dedicated website All Court Matters to find out more, or call us on 1300 QUINNS (784 667) to book an appointment.