Here are a few tips to help you put your best foot forward
While this may seem like many rules for a courtroom, remember that a courtroom is a place of order and structure. You should act in a respectful manner at all times. Court proceedings are serious matters that offer the opportunity for justice to be carried out fairly. Failing to use proper etiquette can affect your case and how the judge/jury views you. While it may seem unfair, good manners and proper courtroom etiquette may determine whether a party wins or loses its case.
Some things you should do
Be on time
Be prepared and organized
Dress appropriately. For men, wear a collared shirt, tuck it in, and wear a belt. Otherwise, wear clothing that would be appropriate for business.
Rise when the judge enters and leaves the courtroom and do not sit until told it is okay
Leave all food and drinks outside of the courtroom or in your car
Refer to the judge as “Your Honor”
Stand when speaking to the judge and give them your full attention
Enter and leave the courtroom quietly
Turn off electronic devices and cell phones before entering the courtroom
Be polite to the judge, opposing counsel, and court staff
Stand up straight, make eye contact, and speak politely when talking to the judge.
Answer questions in a clear, loud voice.
When done, thank the judge for their attention
Some things you should NOT do
Do not interrupt the judge or others when they are talking. Wait until they are done speaking to ask a question or make a comment.
Do not wear hats or other head coverings inside the courtroom
Do not wear sunglasses
Do not wear baggy pants that you have to hold up or that fall below the waist
Do not wear revealing clothing (ex: halter tops, crop tops, plunging necklines)
Do not wear clothes that depict violence, sexual acts, profanity, or illegal drugs
Do not bring weapons of any kind into the courtroom
Do not use your phone in the courtroom whether it be for email, texting, or phone calls
Do not chew gum
Do not wear flip flops
Do not wear open-toe shoes
Do not use derogatory language
Do not consume alcohol the evening before court