What Happens in the Courtroom

What to expect inside the courtroom

If you have not attended a court hearing before, it may be a bit intimidating.

Courtrooms are formal settings, so you may not be used to such formalities. Get to know the dos and don'ts, what to expect in the courtroom and who might be there. It can make it easier to understand what's going on.

How to behave in in a courtroom

If you have never been in a courtroom before, here are a few Dos and Don'ts to consider.


  • Dress appropriately for a formal environment or a job interview
  • Stand when the judge enters and leaves the courtroom
  • Address the judge as 'Judge'
  • Stand when speaking to the court
  • Turn your mobile phone off or put it on silent
  • Take notes if necessary


  • Raise your voice in the courtroom
  • Use a mobile device
  • Eat food in the courtroom
  • Take photos, videos or audio recordings during your hearing
  • Interrupt others
  • Chew gum

You will not be expected to know all of the courtroom formalities. You will be directed on what to do during the case. For example:

  • The judge or clerk will tell you where to sit when you enter the courtroom.
  • If you need a break you can ask the judge.
  • The judge will give instructions on when people can speak. If someone is interrupting, it would be normal for the judge to tell them that they will get a chance to speak after.

What to expect in the courtroom

Family Law cases are heard in camera. This means they are heard in private to protect the privacy of the family. It does not mean they are filmed, videoed or recorded.

The legal language used in a courtroom can sometimes be difficult to understand. Here is a glossary of terms that may help explain things for you.

If you are representing yourself, you will be required to speak to the judge and answer questions yourself.