Going to Court can be a stressful and daunting experience with many new practices and procedures to learn. If you are involved in a family law matter and are concerned about going to Court, our Family Law team's guide to proper court etiquette is here to help.

In-person etiquette: An introduction

The Court is a formal place and having an understanding the appropriate behaviours and etiquette is important. There are many people who may be involved in your matter including:  Firstly, a Judge, being the judicial officer who decides your case and makes Orders in your matter.Secondly, a Registrar, being the judicial officer who can make decisions relating to case management, dispute resolution and interlocutory hearings.Thirdly, Court Officer, being the person who assists the Judge with Court proceedings and records what happens in each matter; andFinally, Independent Children's Lawyer, being a lawyer who represents the best interests of any children in a family law matter.  When attending in-person it is important that you are courteous to any member of the Court and the other party. Additionally, dressing in appropriate Court attire and looking professional can assist in your matter.

Everything else you need to know

Being on time, dressing appropriately and being prepared for Court is important and whilst the team at New South Lawyers can assist you with any documents you may need to prepare, having a basic understanding of courtroom etiquette is critical.  Typical Courtroom etiquette includes:Firstly, sitting quietly.Secondly, having your phone turned off.Thirdly, not eating or drinking anything (besides water).Fourthly, standing if the Judge talks to you and not interrupting the Judge when they speak;.And finally, referring to people appropriately, for example if your matter is being heard by a Senior Judicial Registrar calling them by their appropriate title.  Additionally, even if children are a part of your family law matter the Court is not an appropriate place for children and any child under the age of 18 cannot enter the courtroom. If you have children, please make any necessary arrangements for their care for any time you are in Court.

Electronic hearings and proper court etiquette, online

Since COVID19, the family Court system has increasingly used online software platforms like Microsoft Teams or Webex to conduct Hearings. Whilst these Hearings occur online, the same level of etiquette applies to your online Hearing as an in-person one. Thus, it is important for you to dress and act appropriately. For example, this includes:  Firstly, being courteous in your communication with the Court, including addressing the Judge as ‘Your Honour’ or ‘Senior Judicial Registrar’.Secondly, joining your Hearing 15 minutes beforehand.Thirdly, muting your microphone.Fourthy, turning off your mobile phone or electronic device.And finally, wearing Court appropriate attire like a suit.  If you are involved in a family law matter and have concerns about any courtroom etiquette, please contact a member of our friendly team to assist.

New South Lawyers’ communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication.

To find out more, chat with a member of New South Lawyers' Family Law Team today.