Courtroom rules

Court rooms have strict rules that everyone must follow, whether you are any of the following:

  • a member of the public
  • a witness
  • a defendant. 

If you don’t follow the rules of the court you can be asked to leave, or in serious cases you can be fined or sent to jail. This is known as being in contempt of court.

Preparing for court

When preparing to go to court you should do all of the following:

  • be on time - if you are late your case might be heard without you and a warrant might be issued for your arrest
  • dress in clean, smart clothes with shoes
  • bring documents you need.

Arriving in court

You must not do any of the following:

  • leave your mobile phone or pager on 
  • wear sunglasses or a hat
  • bring food or drink
  • smoke
  • bring weapons.

You should follow the instructions of all court officers and security guards. 

During court

You must:

  • sit quietly without talking unless required for proceedings
  • do not speak to the jurors
  • do not film, record or broadcast proceedings
  • stand and bow when the judge enters or leaves the courtroom
  • call the Judge ‘your honour’ ‘sir’ or ‘madam’
  • do not stand at the back of the courtroom or in the doorway
  • bow when entering or leaving the court
  • stand when you speak to the court.

When a closed court light appears above the door it means the proceedings are closed to the public and you must not enter unless you are given permission.

If the court links to another room in a different building via a video or sound link, the same rules apply as if you were the courtroom.

If you need special equipment for your case, for example a TV monitor and video cassette player, you will need to advise the court staff before you arrive.

Find out more information about interpreter services.

Last updated: 01 May 2016

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