HOW TO: COMPLY WITH THE CORRECT COURT ETIQUETTE IN QUEENSLAND
Greet with a handshake? No elbows on the table? Use your inside voice?
Beyond the boundaries of your dinner table - there’s certain etiquette to follow (albeit of a more serious nature) within the Queensland court.
In Queensland, there’s certain rules in place in the courthouse, and It’s crucial for all attendees to align with these agreed-upon formalities. You may have heard the terms ‘Your Honour’ and ‘Order in the Court’, thrown around in television programs and movies; and maybe this leads you to believe that you have a relatively accurate understanding of legal proceedings.
However, the truth is, being in the midst of a ‘real-life’ court proceeding is a lot more intensive than viewing it through the barrier of a TV screen. So, rid yourself of any pre-conceived ideas taught to you by pop culture before you engage in the courtroom.
Going to court? Here’s what to expect.
Attending court can be a daunting ordeal, so having an idea of what to expect can (hopefully) alleviate some of the stress involved. Plus, being prepared will also show to the court that you know how to act and behave properly.
There’s useful information to get yourself up to speed on the expected etiquette on the Magistrates, District and Supreme Courts on the Queensland Courts website if you are seeking a quick crash course on the basics.
However, for the best representation and guidance, we advise that you seek professional assistance from our qualified team at Creevey Russell Lawyers.
There are many formalities in place, so when you’re set to attend, make sure you keep in mind the rules and general court etiquette to follow, in Queensland.
General Court Etiquette in Queensland
• Before arrival ensure a punctual and timely entrance In the Magistrates court, arrive before the scheduled time to ensure you’re ready when called. In the District Court, the bailiff will be able to tell you when your case will be heard, so ensure you are present before the agreed time. And in the Supreme Court, you can wait inside the courtroom, but of course, ask a bailiff for when your case is due to start.
• Etiquette in entering the courtroom
As you enter, it’s etiquette to bow your head to the ‘Coat of Arms’, behind the judge or magistrate. This shows a sign of respect. Then, proceed to find your seat.
• Taking the correct seat
There are certain seating arrangements depending on what your involvement is in the case. If you’re defending the matter, you sit to the left side of the centre table, and if you’re bringing the matter, you sit on the right side of the centre table. Find your place and take your seat when advised.
• Turn OFF mobile phones, pagers and electronic devices
Switch off your phone, pagers and electronic devices before proceeding through the court room. It’s not a time for Facebook alerts, text messages, phone calls or reminders – and silencing isn’t enough. Turn off your devices completely to ensure the best etiquette.
• Don’t speak unless spoken to or called upon
Wait for your time to be called upon for your moment to speak. Obviously, there should be no idle chatter or murmurs during the court proceedings.
• No smoking, no food/drink, no gum chewing
• No video or audio recording of the court proceedings is allowed
Correctly addressing the Magistrate or Judge
• Address the magistrate or judge before you as ‘Your Honour’ • Listening to and following anything said by the Magistrate or Judge • Bowing your head towards the judge or magistrate when entering or exiting the room • Be standing, not sitting, when the magistrate or judge leaves or enters the courtroom • Be standing when you are addressed by the judge or magistrate • Carefully respect and listen to any instructions given by the judge or magistrate
What do I wear to court?
You’ll want to represent yourself in the best way possible during your court proceeding. Avoid the thongs, sleeveless shirts, and casual attire.
Instead, opt for button up blouses or shirts, suits, pants or below knee skirts and closed in shoes.
Looking for more?
In the midst of a legal proceeding, you should have an experienced law firm by your side to assist you all that’s involved in Queensland law – etiquette included.
Please contact Creevey Russel Lawyers today to discuss your individual situation, and how we can assist you.