Understanding your role and rights in the court system

Although many courts have attempted to become more accessible and user-friendly for the general public, and for unrepresented parties in particular, courts and tribunals are nonetheless generally formal places.

It is still expected that individuals will conduct themselves appropriately in accordance with rules of court etiquette and behaviour that stem from long-practised traditions.

For example, you should familiarise yourself with how to address a judge or magistrate. Inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour in the courtroom can be punished: you could be found to be in contempt of court. Similarly, if you are summoned to court you must attend or you could face a contempt of court charge.

To assist you we have set out some general points to know about going to court and how you should behave, including:

  • Preparing for a court experience
  • How to conduct yourself in court
  • Your rights in court
  • Going to court as a witness
  • Juror rules
  • Children and young people at court
  • Contempt of court

If you would like more detailed legal advice, or to be represented in court, you should get in touch with a solicitor.

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