Stepping into a Courtroom can be a daunting prospect. It’s very formal, there are rules of etiquette to be followed and just generally you probably don’t want to be there.
If you do find yourself in a Courtroom, then here are some tips on how to behave in and around the Court:
- if you are ever required to address the Judge, always do so as “Your Honour”
- always bow when entering and exiting the Courtroom if the Judge is present in the Courtroom
- have your phone turned off, or at least on silent (this means turning off the vibrate as well – seriously, nothing will annoy a Judge more than a ringing phone!)
- dress conservatively and comfortably
- if you are required to give verbal evidence then always listen to the whole question asked of you and do not interrupt the questioner
- if you do not understand the question, state that you do not understand and ask for it to be re-phrased
- never argue with the questioner or the Judge, remain calm at all times and do not become defensive when being questioned
- keep your answers simple and succinct and only directly in answer to the question (know when to be quiet – don’t go off on a tangent!)
- if you genuinely do not remember, say so, don’t make up answers
- if you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or even just need a bathroom break then politely ask the Judge for a break
- remain polite at all times in and around the Courtroom, to anyone you come in contact with
- don’t be afraid to concede on an issue, it is harder to be caught out in cross-examination if you are open and honest. For example, “I acknowledge it was not my finest moment and if I had my time again I would be very different”
- take a drink of water when in the witness box and take your time when answering questions
The above tips are common sense. However, when faced with the stress of being in Court and particularly if you are being cross-examined, it can be really easy to forget these tips. Do your best to remind yourself of these things and it may assist in making your experience at Court a little easier or at the very least, should assist in helping you make a good impression.
If you have any questions about appearing in Court, or need help appearing in Court, then please do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced team at Southern Waters Legal on (02) 9523 5535.