What Is Court Etiquette?

Before students will visit and explore a court, it is crucial that they understand a little about the ‘etiquette; that’s required in court. Before setting out on a tour through one our nation’s court rooms, educators should discuss and explain a lot of the Courthouse Dos & Donts to their students.

DO speak in a soft and decent manner and keep up a professional demeanor in stairwells and hallways of the Courthouse you visit.
DO NOT speak in courtrooms while court proceedings are going on.

DO remember where the bathrooms are located (here: on the 2nd floor near to the elevators).
DO NOT bring your totes or heavy backpacks into the Courthouse. This will delay the security proceedings.

DO behave in a respectful manner to the judge. Address the judge always as ‘judge’ or ‘your honor.’
DO NOT ever have chewing gum in your mouth while in a courtroom.

DO turn off your pagers and cell phones when you visit the Courthouse.
DO NOT bring beverages or food into courtrooms.

DO dress in an appropriate way! You are visiting a professional setting, so dress accordingly.
DO NOT repeat what you’ve heard in the courtroom to other students while still in the Courthouse. This may cause distraction, and there could be attorneys, jurors, or others parties that could hear information that they should not hear.

DO bring paper and pens or pencils for note-taking. You really can learn a lot while visiting a courthouse.
DO NOT discuss what you hear while still in the courtroom.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can I learn where my case will be heard?
A: You can check the court’s Online Index found at the top of the court’s website.

Q: Can I discuss with the judge outside of the courtroom?
A: No, you can not! By law, judges can only talk with you in court and when the opposing party is present.

Q: When in court, how should I address the judge?
A: In court, it is common practice to address the judge as ‘Your Honor’.

Q: My case was scheduled for 8:50 a.m., but I wasn’t called until 10:30 a.m. Why?
A: Cases are getting scheduled at several times, and many cases are scheduled to take place at the same time. If they schedule your case for 8:30 a.m. you may be called at any moment between 8:30 a.m. and noon. It depends on the number of people that appear in court. Be aware that it is crucial to come on time since general information and a roll call may be given before the Court convenes.

Q: Suppose I need an interpreter?
A: If you appear in court domestic violence or criminal case, and your first language is not English, you should immediately inform the Court, and you get an interpreter.

Q: Where must I be standing when I appear before the judge?
A: When your judge calls your case, you must be standing before the railing that separates the judge from the audience. In doubt, the bailiff will be pointing you the right spot.

Q: When can I speak with the judge?
A: You’ll have the opportunity to speak directly with the judge when your case is called in court, or you’ll have your attorney do that for you.

Q: Can I see my file?
A: Yes, you can but there are exceptions. Please check the ‘Public Information Policies’ if you want detailed information.