Courtroom Etiquette - What You Need To Know
Courtroom etiquette is important for everyone to know. No matter who you are, the same rules apply. When you show respect for the court’s rules, you’re helping the court and you’re helping yourself. If you have to appear in court, prepare accordingly and follow courtroom etiquette rules.
At The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, our personal injury attorneys successfully handled numerous hearings and trials throughout Long Island and nearby areas including Nassau County, Suffolk County and Queens. If your case must go to court, we can help you prepare for success. We’ll build your claim, explain court rules, and guide you through the legal process. With over a century of collective experience, our attorneys know how to build your claim and manage it every step of the way.
If you need an experienced trial attorney to help with your claim, contact us today for a free consultation.
Preparing for Court
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There are no guaranteed victories in court, but when you prepare for court, you’re improving your chances for success. Remember that judges, court staff, and lawyers are doing important work, but it’s also their job. Like everyone else, they want to do their jobs smoothly and efficiently. Help them do their jobs by properly preparing for court:
- Arrive at the courthouse early.
- Plan for delays with transportation and parking. Car trouble and accidents often hit at the worst possible time. Parking around a courthouse can be difficult. Build extra time into your travel plans.
- Plan extra time into your schedule for security screenings. Security screenings can be slow, and there may be many people ahead of you.
- Understand where you need to be and when. Locate the courtroom in advance.
- Review the documents your attorney has given you and know the goal of the court appearance.
- Dress appropriately. For more information, see our guide on what to wear to court.
- When waiting outside of a courtroom, know that others will notice your conduct. Be polite to everyone.
- If you absolutely cannot make your appearance due to circumstances out of your control, contact your lawyer immediately.
When You Appear in Court
Once you’re at the courthouse, understand that your appearance and conduct matter. If you’re rude or inconsiderate, a judge and other court staff will notice. A judge expects everyone present to pay attention and act with respect. If you’re in court, follow your attorney’s lead, stay quiet, and be respectful. Court is serious business, and judges will not tolerate violations of etiquette and rules.
When you’re in court, the judge represents the law and will make many important decisions about your case. These can be procedural issues, rulings on motions, and other important legal decisions. The judge will also provide jury instructions and manage the jury as they make their decision. In some cases, the judge may handle the jury’s duties and directly decide the case. The judge sets the rules for the courtroom, so it’s important to keep the judge happy.
Follow these tips when it’s time for you to appear in court:
- Never bring food or beverages to a court.
- Do not bring children into a court. Arrange for someone to look after the children while you are in court.
- Turn off cellphones and other devices. A court will not tolerate interruptions.
- Make a good first impression with a clean, conservative appearance.
- Be polite and courteous to everyone in the court.
- Stand when a judge or a jury enters the court. If you aren’t sure when to rise or sit, watch the conduct of others in courtroom and mimic them.
- Listen carefully to everything and everyone in the court.
- Never interrupt anyone who is speaking, including the judge, witnesses, or even the opposing side. In court, usually only one person is allowed to speak at a time.
- Do not argue with anyone, even if you strongly disagree. If you have questions or concerns, your attorney can help you.
- Be respectful to the judge. The judge is the most important person in the room. If the judge asks you a question, stand and address the judge as, “your honor.”
- If the judge asks a question, answer truthfully. Do not compromise your case or your safety by lying to a court.
- If you have questions about the proceedings, or you need assistance, your attorney can help you. Do not ask questions of the judge or other staff.
- No matter how a court appearance goes, maintain control over your emotions and refer questions to your attorney.
After Your Time in Court
You attorney will follow up with you and keep you informed. If your case requires further appearances, your attorney will manage the process and let you know what needs to happen. Do not contact the court or the judge. Your attorney will act as your representative and deal with the court as needed.
In some cases, you or the other side may want to appeal the court’s decision. Do not contact the court to express your feelings or thoughts on the decision. Speak with your attorney instead. Appealing a decision is a formal process, and your attorney can help you do it. In some cases, an appeal makes sense; in other cases, it may not. Your attorney can review your options and help you plan your next step.
We Can Help You Pursue Your Claim in Court
If your personal injury claim is heading for court, our experienced accident lawyers can guide you every step of the way. At The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, our seasoned injury attorneys have handled every type of court hearing and trial from personal injury claims, to wrongful death claims, and beyond. When you need to go to court, we’ll work with you to prepare and build a strong strategy for success.
Contact us today for a free consultation. We can answer any questions you may have about your claim and what to expect if your case is going to trial.