The courtroom is a formal, solemn place where very serious proceedings take place. The dignity of the court must be respected and maintained at all times. People who appear in court must observe rules of etiquette and other conventions of orderly, courteous, and respectful behavior. And, you want to make a good impression in court. Here are some basic rules to follow:
1. Arrive on time. If your hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m., arrive IN the courtroom at 8:15 a.m.
2. Stand up when the judge enters the room. Every time. Sit when the judge sits or when she instructs you to sit.
3. Use good manners. Even if you don’t use good manners at home, use good manners in the courtroom.
4. Do not speak in the courtroom during a hearing, trial, or other court proceeding.
5. Do not chew gum in the courtroom.
6. Do not bring food or beverages into a courtroom.
7. When you leave the courtroom, do not repeat to others what you heard in the courtroom. Jurors, attorneys, parties, or other people who are not allowed to hear such information may hear what you say.
9. Do not walk beyond the rail unless instructed to do so by the judge, your lawyer, or a bailiff.
10. Do not bring a cell phone into the courtroom.
11. Do not use profane or obscene language.
12. Sit up straight.
13. As a general rule, you should not bring children under age six (6) in the courtroom unless instructed to do so, or allowed, by your lawyer, the judge, or bailiff.
14. Always use common courtesy.
15. Do not use any tobacco product in the courtroom.
16. Do not prop your feet on tables or chairs.
17. If you bring a child in the courtroom, and the child starts to cry or becomes disruptive, take the child out of the courtroom immediately (unless the judge, your lawyer, or a bailiff instructs you otherwise)
18. Do not bring newspapers or magazines in the courtroom.
Of course, every court may have different, or additional, rules of decorum and etiquette that you should follow. If you have any question about courtroom procedures, you should address such questions to your lawyer or the Clerk of Court.