How to behave in court

Courts operate with some formalities such as bowing and standing to speak. You will see that many people bow when they enter and leave the courtroom. This is to show respect to the court. Bowing is not compulsory. You can choose to bow or not to bow.

In court you should:

  • turn off your mobile phone
  • not eat or drink
  • sit quietly
  • not interrupt proceedings
  • not take photographs
  • not make audio recordings of proceedings
  • not speak to or approach any member of the jury.

You may want to SMS or tweet, but if a judicial officer thinks you are doing something illegal, such as recording or photographing, you could be asked to leave court or be arrested. It is an offence to record or photograph proceeding without permission of the court.

When your case is called and the judge, magistrate or other judicial officer is speaking to you, call them 'your honour' when you address them.