Going to court

Going to court

You don’t have to be represented by a lawyer in court, but preparing and presenting your own case can be complicated.

Legal advice will help you decide whether you need a lawyer to speak for you in court or if you’re better off representing yourself.

Each court has different ways of working. We have information about going to court:

We also have information on going to court as a witness.

How to behave in court

In court you should:

  • make sure you look clean and neat (take off your hat and sunglasses)
  • enter and leave the courtroom quietly so you don’t disrupt proceedings
  • turn off mobile phones and music player before entering the courtroom
  • address the magistrate as 'Your Honour', 'Sir' or 'Madam'
  • stand when the magistrate speaks to you.

The following are not permitted in the courtroom:

  • talking
  • smoking
  • eating or chewing gum
  • video or other cameras, tape recorders, two-way radios or other electronic equipment.

It’s a good idea to visit the court before your court date so you know what to expect. Cases are usually open to the public. Watching what happens shows you what the magistrate can say and how the court works.

If you need an interpreter, get one before you go to court

Ring the court co-ordinator to arrange this. Do this at least five days before going to court. The court will pay for the interpreter. Only qualified interpreters work at court.

Get help

Find out how you can get help with courts and the legal system.