For Judges, the court room is a second home. So, when visitors arrive in a court of law and don’t practice proper etiquette and manners, the Judge is often the first person to notice. Typically, Judges and attorneys do not expect every visitor to know the professional intricacies of a court room. However, they do expect visitors to put forth their best efforts. The following are some tips on maintaining a respectable, professional appearance while in court:
- Arrival: Arriving early is very important. Court is oftentimes very difficult for visitors to navigate. Walking by nearly-identical rooms amongst a crowd of strangers can cause unexpected delays. Arriving early gives you the benefit of familiarizing yourself with the courtroom. It also allows you a few moments to speak with your attorney and review important information.
- Attire: The two main words that should come to mind are “professional and clean”. The hair on your head and face should be tidy and groomed. If you own a suit, wear one. If you do not, dress as if you were attending church in your “Sunday’s Best”. Also, be sure to avoid distracting jewelry pieces. A Judge may become annoyed if you begin nervously playing with a large necklace or clunky bracelets.
- Mannerisms: Knowing what to do if the Judge addresses you can be nerve-wracking. If a Judge addresses you, stand up. If their address requires you to respond, be sure to always refer to the Judge as “Your Honor”. This shows your respect for the Judge and his or her courtroom. Additionally, keep your reactions to what you hear in the courtroom appropriate. Avoid eye rolling, interrupting, swearing, or loud scoffs of protest when another person is speaking.