We must know how to behave in court because a court is a place where serious business takes place and where judgments are meted out to people according to the laid-down legal laws of a community. It is a place where conflicts are resolved amicably among parties to ensure fairness and justice.
There are stipulated rules or expected behavior for people who may find themselves in a courtroom.
One must behave appropriately according to the expected behavior when in court.
This article aims to guide you, provide you with information, and educate you on how to behave in court. This will regulate your conduct and behavior anytime you find yourself in court because, contrary to the court norm, it can come with a penalty.
Contrary to what most people think, their behavior in court only demands that they show respect.
While this is true, it is just one part of how to behave in court.
This article will redeem your limited understanding of courtroom behavior and provide you with everything you need to know about how to behave in court.
Why don’t we find out about courtroom etiquette?
How To Behave In Courtroom
1. Dress Professionally
Your appearance in a courtroom is an example of how to behave in court. You have to put conscious effort into selecting the attire to wear to court.
A court is not a marketplace where you can put on anything you like. Do not dress casually. Choosing professional attire such as a shirt and a trouser is considerable.
You should consider attire with cool colors over those that are too colorful or flashy.
Simplicity and moderation are important; using makeup and jewelry may not be. Do not forget that a court is not a fashion show where people are rewarded for their appearance.
Make sure that you are comfortable in your shoes in the courtroom. If you are a lady, do not wear a shoe that has a high heel that makes it hard to stand or move.
This is because you may be required to stand most of the time in court. Select a shoe that makes it easy for you to move.
2. Arrive At Court Before Hearing
Being early to court is important. Do not wait for the exact time that the Court hearing is meant to take place before getting to the hearing.
Make sure that you are available in court at least 45 minutes before the hearing or trial. This will give ample time to navigate the court area, find a place to park, go through security checks, and be in order before the hearing starts.
3. Do Not Enter A Court With A Weapon or Harmful Objects
Weapons or sharp objects are not allowed in a courtroom. It is a threat to the lives of the people in the court. You will have to go through a security check before you are allowed access to a court.
People who find these objects can be fined and face court penalties for bridging the court rule. How to behave in court is by checking yourself properly before entering a court and making sure you do not have anything that can implicate you in your possession.
4. Turn Off Your Phone
One of the things you also need to know about how to behave in court is that you should switch off your phone before entering a courtroom.
This is to avoid any form of distraction that may unfold during a court hearing. Distraction is the least of the things that are permitted in court, and sounds from this phone can cause this distraction in court.
5. Pay Attention
When you are also in court, you need to be attentive. You are not allowed to make side conversations or side comments when you are in court.
You have to be attentive so that you can have a better understanding of the court’s proceedings, legal arguments and court proceedings. Also, attention is needed to help you understand the Judge’s instructions.
Understanding the Judge’s instructions guides you on the right response to give when you are asked to speak.
You do not want to derail the subject of discussion in court. If you are a witness in court, paying attention helps you provide an accurate account when you are permitted to speak. This is how to behave in court.
6. Wait Until You Are Asked To Talk
A court is a place of order. Hence, everything has to be done in order. How to behave in court is to be orderly and comport yourself.
You should not talk or interrupt until you are granted permission to do so.
If you have a contribution or something you would like to air you can signify it by raising your hands to seek permission. You are only allowed to speak when the judge permits you to do so.
7. Stand Up To Speak
Standing up to speak in court has been a long-lasting formal practice that has been the court norm. When you are permitted to speak by the judge, make sure you are on your feet.
How to behave in court when you are given the chance to speak is that you don’t sit to address the judge unless you have a health condition.
It is a sign of respect for the judge and the court. There are different designated areas where people who want to speak in court can do so.
For example, lawyers stand at the lectern and witnesses stand in the witness box, which is very close to the judge. The parties stand at the counsel table or close to their lawyers, as the case may be.
8. Be Respectful And Address the Judge In An Appropriate Way
You should show everyone respect and treat everyone you meet in court with respect. Respect is necessary in court as it brings about order. also appropriately address the judge.
You can use ‘Your Honor’ while addressing a judge or inquire from your attorney what better title the judge wishes to be addressed with. You would notice how Lawyers themselves prioritize respect in their profession. Fellow lawyers address their colleagues respectfully, even when they are at loggerheads. They eventually hug and shake hands when the hearing is over.
9. Be Truthful With Your Answers
You need to ensure that you give true and direct answers when you talk. While stating your point, make sure that you do not produce contradictory points.
Be careful to avoid using ambiguous words too, as these may be used against you by the opposing party. How to behave in court is to speak politely, and be audible but not shout.
Do not lie because everything in court has to be backed up by evidence. Lying or bearing false witness is an act known as perjury and it is a punishable offense under the law. If found guilty of this act, you may be asked to pay fines or be imprisoned.
10. Do Not Eat Or Drink In A Court
Eating and drinking are not permitted in a courtroom. Eating and drinking in court can cause distractions that can affect legal proceedings. Remember that a courtroom is a formal environment and needs to be treated accordingly.
Aside from the fact that eating in a courtroom can cause distraction, it can also cause untidiness around the courtroom. Messes are not allowed in a courtroom because there are documents or other sensitive materials that should not be messed up by food spills.
How to behave in court is to eat before entering a court. Do not carry water and food into the court if you do not want to be penalized for that.
11. Follow Court Clerk’s Instructions
A court clerk carries out administrative duties in a judicial setting or court. They are responsible for the smooth running of the court and ensuring order in the court.
They keep records and they are also in charge of administering oaths to witnesses. A court clerk is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that you adhere to the court rules and promoting orderliness.
This is why when a court clerk notices noise or side conversations in the room, he shouts ‘order’ to restore orderliness in the court. How to behave in court is to obey anything that is said by the clerk in the court.
12. Children Must Stay Quiet
Children are allowed in the courtroom. As a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure that your child or children are quiet and orderly when they are in the court so that they do not distract other people in the court.
Finally, the right attitude, decent behavior and discipline are appropriate to maintain fairness, peace and order in the court. All the following points, which have been identified in this article, should be strictly adhered to in court.
If you are not sure of how to behave in a court, you should behave in certain situations in a court.
You can ask the court staff to avoid any form of violation. Do not forget that any form of violation or disobedience against court orders does not go without a penalty or punishment.