Being in a courtroom can be intimidating no matter what is happening. Your loved one might be the plaintiff in a personal injury case. Or criminal charges might be brought against your loved one’s abuser. Whatever the case, your loved one might have to appear in court. If this happens, they should make a good impression on the judge or jury. Here, you can learn about courtroom etiquette. Follow these guidelines to make the process of going to court easier for your loved one.
Don’t Be Too Nervous
Your loved one might be nervous about going to court, which is a natural reaction. Being nervous shows that your loved one understands the seriousness of the situation. Regardless, you should encourage your loved one not to be too nervous. Tell them to take a deep breath and remember that people go to court every day. Some people – judges and lawyers – have dedicated their lives to being in the courtroom. With the help of a qualified personal injury lawyer, your loved one will be fine.
The courtroom is a professional setting. As such, your loved one should always act professionally when in court. This also includes dressing conservatively.
Be Polite and Respectful
Nothing looks worse in court than when someone is rude or impolite. Your loved one’s behavior and attitude can also have a negative impact on the case. Make sure that your loved one is polite and respectful to everyone in the courthouse. This includes the judge, the defendant, the defendant’s lawyer, the jurors, witnesses, etc. Your loved one should always be on their best behavior when going to court.
Keep still when seated and when standing before a judge. Even if your loved one is nervous on the inside, staying still will give others the appearance that they are calm.
Stay focused on what is happening in the courtroom. Even when your loved one is not getting questioned, they should be paying attention. This will show a judge or jury that your loved one is serious about the case and invested in the outcome.
Take Your Time
Make sure that your loved one understands questions asked. If your loved one doesn’t hear or understand a question, they should ask for it to get repeated. Your loved one should not just rush and give an answer they are unsure of because of nerves. Remember that they are under oath and have an obligation to be honest.
Speak Slowly and Clearly
When speaking in court, be sure to do so slowly and clearly. Also, make sure that your loved one’s answers are loud enough to get heard. These these things will make your loved one appear confident, even if they aren’t.
Remember the Judge
When the judge enters the courtroom, your loved one must stand up and wait until they tell everyone to sit. Always address the judge as “your Honor” and stand when talking to them. If your loved one is unsure or feels pressured when questioned, they can look to the judge for help. It is their job to oversee the trial.
- Be late. Being prompt shows respect for the justice system. Being late makes a terrible first impression.
- Use your cell phone. Turn it off.
- Chew gum. It’s a distraction to those trying to concentrate on the case and indicates a lack of respect.
- Talk to others. Do not discuss the case or talk while court is in session. It can be distracting and disrespectful.
- Read, do personal work, or listen to music. Court is neither the time nor place to do activities like this. Your loved one should focus and listen at all times.
- Interrupt. Even if your loved one is just itching to say something, they must wait until the appropriate time to do so. Your loved one won’t get bonus points for cutting someone off and making their point first.
Above All: Be Honest!
Most importantly, your loved one should be completely honest in the answers they give in court. They are under oath and so has a duty to be truthful. If your loved one does lie in court, chances are they will get found out. Your loved one will also lose their credibility and that can damage the case.