What to Expect When You Go to Court
Going to court involves a lot of rules. While many of them may appear archaic or pointless, they should be taken seriously. There are certain protocols that all members of the public must adhere to, as there are consequences in failing to do so that may include fines or incarceration. The following is a basic list of points on what you should expect when attending court.
You Can Represent Yourself, But It’s Not Recommended
You have the right to represent yourself in any of Queensland’s courts as a ‘self-represented litigant.’ However, there are significant downsides, including not knowing processes, which documents to file, or the legal intricacies of your case. We recommend that you seek initial legal counsel to help you decide whether representing yourself is a wise decision.
A Courtroom is a Formal Setting
When you arrive at court it is expected that you will be on time and well presented. You don’t have to wear a suit, but you should have tidy clothing that is well laundered. Additionally, don’t chew gum or eat food while in the courtroom, and pay close attention when anyone is talking to you. When the judge speaks to you, you should stand and address them as “your honour.”
All of this is important because if you should, for example, miss your allocated start time, the judge may issue a warrant for your arrest.
Arriving at Court
The courthouse can be a busy place, but there are plenty of people available to help you out, and noticeboards and television screens to point you in the right direction. If you aren’t sure of anything, speak to a member of staff rather than making an assumption that could put you on a negative footing. As a guideline –
If you are attending the Magistrates Court, you should wait outside the courtroom and you will be called.
If it’s the District Court, ask the bailiff when the judge will be ready to hear your case.
In the Supreme Court, you should go into the courtroom and wait. Ask the bailiff for approximate times.
In all instances, your lawyer is there to guide you through the process. They will meet with you, answer any of your questions and make sure you are in the right place at the right time.