Going to Court - Do’s and Do Not’s
Updated: Dec 16, 2022
Within todays modern 21st century world, a lot of information we get is from the internet. However, when going to Court a lot of people cannot understand the basics of Court and what are the "Dos" and "Do Nots" of representing yourself. This article is going to explore things which will help a Judge understand your arguments, and things we would not recommend.
Although a Court is there to listen to the facts and merits of the case, it is important that you present yourselves in an appropriate manner ensuring. When considering what to wear these are my top tips!
When entering Court ensure that you’re well dressed (suit is more often the best choice)
Keep your hair in a neat style avoiding covering your face
Ensure that you are not wear "flashy" or "expensive" jewellery (especially if trying to convince a Judge you are in low income)
Keep it dressed sensibly and smartly.
Turn up to Court in a swimming costume (yes, I really have had clients turn up in swimming customers before)
Wear anything provocative (once I have a client turn up with a very foul word written across their top)
Unnecessary piercing or tattoo on display (I am a lover of tattoos but you should ensure they are covered when going to Court)
Anything which could be offensive (I once had a client turn up with a very offensive ring on his middle finger - wasn't the best idea as the Judge asked him about it during cross examination).
When going to Court the Judge is not going to expect to you speak like Kavange QC (a famous TV Barrister for those who may not know). However, he will expect you to present your case with respect, accuracy and clarity.
Speak a little louder than usual to project your voice (I do not mean shout like you’re calling the ice cream man over).
Be slow and accurate in what you are saying (I.e., be calm, collected and think about what you are saying be for you answer)
Take short breaks or ask for a minute or two if you need to think about how to answer a question.
Carefully structure your words and sentences to get your point across.
Do not be frightened to say you disagree with what the other party had said in a calm manner.
Shout at the other party or the Judge.
Huff and puff when the other side is speaking (even if what they are saying is a complete load or rubbish)
Whisper to yourself or have a "one man" conversation (yes, people seem to speak to themselves in Court more often than not).
Speak over the other side
Shout OBJECTION like Jonny Depp’s Lawyers (this isn't a movie (nor the American justice system, if you disagree with someone raise it when it's your turn or if the judge interjects)).
Use slang terminology (I once had a client who asked "yo bruv what gwaning" to a judge in his opening statement (for reference I still do not know what it means)).
In Court, a Judge will be looking at your body language through the course of proceedings. It is vital that you remain in control and show restraint
Make sensible eye contact with a witness or Judge when asking or answering questions.
Ensure your hands are in a relaxed state and that you do not use a lot of hand gestures.
Look relaxed and comfortable
Shake your head or show anger in your face
Bang the table with your fist or raise a clenched fist if you disagree with something
Shake your legs constantly or tap your foot loudly
Show or raise your voice when asked difficult questions
Start stuttering when answering simple questions
Diverting answers to questions
If you follow these top tips, you should be able to represent yourself in Court. However, going to Court alone without a Lawyer is an extremely scary experience. Our Award-Winning McKenzie Friends are available to help you and support you when you are representing yourself! If you need help or guidance in Court, please call us for your free 15-minute consultation to discuss your needs!