Have you found yourself in a legal courtroom? Are you the plaintiff, the defendant, court employee or maybe you’re one of the people with a 0.09% chance of being called for jury duty?
Do you know how to behave in court? Are you well-versed in court etiquette? Did you know that there is certain courtroom etiquette for visitors as well?
No matter what your reason for being in the courtroom, you need to make a good impression on the judge and jury. Here are courtroom etiquette rules to know.
Courtroom Etiquette: The Rules to Follow
Is the thought of walking into a courtroom somewhat intimidating? Are you worried about first impressions? While there are many courtroom rules and expectations, there are some that are more important than others. Let’s take a look at some of the most important ones.
1. The Judge is the Ultimate Authority
Stand when the judge enters and leaves the courtroom. Remain standing until the judge takes a seat.
If invited to address the judge, you will stand. You never speak to the judge while seated.
If speaking to the judge, refer to him or her as “Your Honor” as a sign of respect. Keep your body language and facial expressions in check. Do not use any offensive language or gestures in the presence of the judge.
2. Dress Appropriately
No matter your reason for being in court, be it a personal injury case (read more here) or to serve on the jury, it is a place of professionalism and you need to look the part.
Your appearance matters. Conservative apparel is best whether it be a suit or dress or slacks and a blouse. It should go without saying that t-shirts and hats should be left outside of the courtroom.
The appropriate clothing shows respect for the court. The judge or jury may be swayed by your appearance.
3. Be Mindful of Your Behavior
Be polite to all involved in the court proceedings, be it the judge, counsel, the jury or visitors. Use sir or ma’am when answering a yes or no question.
Leave electronics at home or make sure your phone is powered off or silenced. Do not bring food or drinks into the courtroom. If you must eat, exit the courtroom to do so.
Be on your best behavior from the time you enter the courthouse, while in the courtroom and until you leave. People may be watching.
Always arrive on time! Plan ahead to account for any traffic or lines getting into the courthouse. Leave earlier than necessary to avoid being late.
Understanding the Basics for Your Time in Court
Now that you’ve learned the rules of courtroom etiquette, you are prepared for your day in court. Let us help you no matter where you’re sitting in the courtroom. We can offer advice on many legal issues from choosing the right lawyer to tips on getting out of legal trouble. Visit us today!