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Going to Court

You may be going to court because you:

  • have been charged with an offence
  • are a party to court proceedings
  • are appearing as a witness
  • are a victim
  • are a juror
  • are an interested member of the community

To ensure the smooth operation of a court, it is important everyone attending the court behaves appropriately and in keeping with court processes.  If you are appearing in court you should:

  • remember to take any relevant documents about the case with you
  • be  on time - if you are late, your case might be heard in your absence or a warrant might be issued for your arrest
  • dress appropriately in clean, smart clothing
  • stand when a judge or magistrate enters or leaves the courtroom. If you are a litigant or defendant you should stand when the judge or magistrate speaks to you and when you speak to them (except if you are in the witness box)
  • turn off your mobile phone inside the courtroom

If you think you will need an interpreter you should contact the court several days before your proceedings.

As you enter or leave a courtroom, you should be quiet so you do not disrupt proceedings. It is customary to bow towards the bench.

Talking, smoking, eating and chewing gum are  not permitted in court. When you address the judge or magistrate, refer to them as 'Your Honour'. Address others such as lawyers, witnesses and court staff by their titles and surnames (eg Mr Smith). The judge or magistrate cannot speak to you about your case except when it is being heard and when the other party is present.

Taking photographs or video recording the proceedings is not allowed.

Court staff will help you in any way they can, but staff cannot give you legal advice.

For legal advice, you should contact a lawyer or Legal Aid.


Last updated: 9-Jun-2017

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