Courtrooms are open to the public except in special circumstances when the court orders otherwise. Seating is provided in the public gallery usually at the back of the courtroom.
When you enter and exit the courtroom, it is customary to acknowledge respect for the laws of the land, the court and its judiciary. This is simply a matter of pausing briefly at the door and bowing your head towards the Coat of Arms located behind the Judicial Officer.
When a Judicial officer (Justice / Judge / Master / Commissioner / Magistrate) enters or leaves the courtroom, it is customary to stand and bow and remain standing until the Judicial Officer has departed. The Judicial Officer is in charge of the courtroom and may order the removal of anybody who misbehaves or is dressed inappropriately.
You should stand whenever the Judge or Commissioner is talking to you, or you are talking to the judge or commissioner
The following are not permitted in the courtroom:
- talking, smoking, eating and chewing gum
- video or other cameras, tape recorders, two-way radios or other electronic equipment.
You must turn off your mobile phone, pager and the alarm on your watch while in the courtroom.
You do not need to wear a suit when going to court but your dress should be neat and smart. It is inappropriate to wear singlets, thongs, hat or sunglasses in the courtroom.
It is traditional for Judges and lawyers to wear gowns in the Supreme and District Courts. The Magistrates and ERD Court however, do not wear gowns in Court.
In court, it is important that you follow directions and pay attention. You should never be hostile.
A trial is a structured proceeding for the orderly collection of factual evidence by the Court. Fundamental to this process is that each party is allowed to speak in turn presenting their case. It is quite possible that you disagree with the information/evidence the other side is putting to the Judicial Officer. If so, make a note of the errors and correct them when it is your turn to speak, as well as putting your information/evidence to the Judicial Officer.
A Judge is addressed as Your Honour’, ‘Sir’ or 'Madam’.
A Magistrate can be addressed as ‘Your Honour’, ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’.
A Commissioner is addressed as ‘Sir’ or Madam’ or 'Commissioner'