What you need to know when attending Court for a Family Law matter

The Basics

  • Be prepared. If it is your first time appearing in court it may be helpful to attend a hearing beforehand so that you have an understanding of the process.
  • Arrive early! Give yourself time to find the courtroom and discuss any outstanding matters with your lawyer before your matter is called on
  • Always bow to the Judge or Magistrate whenever either of you enters or exits the courtroom
  • Never speak directly to the Judge or Magistrate unless invited to do so and, if you do, remember to stand
  • Always refer to the Judge or Magistrate as “Your Honour”, “Sir”, or “M’am”
  • Listen carefully to any orders made by the Judge or Magistrate during the hearing

Dress to impress

  • Court is a formal occasion and as such a formal standard of dress should apply
  • Suits are standard, but if you don’t have one, aim to cover up
  • Remove your hat or sunglasses before entering the courtroom

Avoid drawing unnecessary attention to yourself

  • Do not bring food or drink into the courtroom; the court will provide water for the parties and their lawyers
  • Ensure your mobile phone is switched off
  • Refrain from pulling faces or making any distracting noises – if you do, you risk being reprimanded by the Judge or Magistrate
  • Don’t ask your family or friends to take notes for you – they are not permitted to do so and their notes may be confiscated
  • Children are not permitted in the courtroom – childcare facilities are available if needed

Everything is recorded

  • Always remember, the microphones are running, whether the Judge or Magistrate is in the courtroom or not.