Victoria Legal Aid

How to behave in court

Information about what you should do in court, and what is not permitted.

Courts are very formal. When you go to court, it's important to be respectful.

On this page, we've listed some tips to get you prepared for your court date, and to help your day run smoothly.

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 players 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. There will be a sign on the door of the courtroom if the court is closed to the public. Watching what happens shows you what the magistrate can say and how the court works.

Because of COVID-19, courts are limiting the number of people who enter court buildings. Therefore, it may not be possible to attend court in person to watch a case. Contact the courtExternal Link before you plan to go. The court will tell you if you can attend. If not, they can help you view a court hearing online instead.

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at

Reviewed 11 March 2022

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