Courtroom Etiquette

Most people can count on a single hand the number of times they have gone, or will go, into a courtroom. While there is no question some individuals will have a better understanding of the “system” it is always important to remember some very basic rules.

  1. Always be polite and show respect to the court staff and the judge.

Regardless of your personal feelings, be polite and respectful to everyone in the courtroom. The old saying “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” rings true. Many times individuals are frustrated and emotionally drained by the time court proceedings start. Regardless of how you personally feel that day still saying “yes sir” or “yes ma’am” shows the judge that you understand the importance of the proceeding.

2.  Wait until the attorney or judge has completely finished asking their question before answering.

While you may think you know what the opposing attorney is going to ask while you are on the stand do not take any liberties and begin answering questions prematurely. This gives the impression that you have a script that you are following and can diminish your credibility.

3.  Dress appropriately.

Not everyone can afford a new suit or new outfit before they go to court and that is completely understandable. The problem arises when you dress as if you were staying in for the day. Court is not an informal proceeding and you should dress as best you can before going. If all you can manage is a pair of jeans and a collared shirt that is perfectly fine, just be sure you tuck in your shirt. Judges are not going to hold what you wear against you when they render their decision, but this particular topic ties back into showing respect to the court.