While at Adept Family Lawyers, we always prepare our clients and familiarize them with Courtroom decorum, here are some useful tips for self-represented litigants to remember when they are inside the Courtroom especially if this is their first time in Court:
Be punctual or try to arrive early as it may take some time to go through the security. If you are late, apologize.
Do not bring any food and/or drink into the Courtroom.
Turn off or silent your mobile phone or any other electronic devices that you may have.
Introduce yourself to the Court Clerk. There will be many cases to be called in your Courtroom including yours. The Court Clerk may help you find your case from the paper list.
Bow facing the Judge at the time of entering and leaving the court room.
Stand and do not talk when Judge enters and leaves the Courtroom.
Do not nod or shake your head in agreement or disagreement to any point being made by the Judge, opposing counsel or by any of your witnesses. This may annoy the judge or distract him.
When your case is called, stand up and walk to the table in front of the Courtroom.
Introduce yourself to the Judge. Address the Judge as ‘Your Honor’ if you are in the Provincial Court. Address the Judge as ‘My Lord’ or ‘My Lady’ (as the case maybe) in the Court of Queen’s Bench.
Always pass the documents to the Judge through Court Clerk if you wish for the Judge to review them.
Speak loudly and clearly when you are speaking to the Judge.
Do not interrupt the Judge while he is talking or asking questions. Wait for your turn to speak.
Be graceful, polite, and appropriate at all times.
The above rules, among others, are applicable to the Courts in Alberta. It is important for self-represented litigants to familiarize themselves with Rules of Court as per their jurisdiction.