What If I Have to Appear in Court?

Many people are afraid of appearing in court, especially if they’ve never come before a judge. Even when you settle a family law case out of court, court appearance is sometimes necessary. When involved in a court case, it’s good to know the rules and to have an appropriate sense of how to dress and act.

Courtroom Etiquette

A publication by The Texas Young Lawyer’s Association provides some tips for clothing and acceptable behavior.

What to wear and what not to wear

  • In general, you should appear neat and wear clean, ironed clothes
  • Men should wear a suit or pants and a shirt with a collar
  • Women should wear a suit, dress, or pants and blouse
  • Ensure skirts are not too short and clothing isn’t too tight or revealing
  • No t-shirts, shorts, hats or sunglasses should be worn
  • Avoid wearing excessive jewelry, make up or wild hair styling

Courtrooms are conservative and it’s best if you have a conservative appearance.

Appropriate courtroom behavior

As part of common courtesy, a judge expects certain formalities from people who appear in court, including the following:

  • Treat the judge respectfully, addressing him or her as “Your Honor,” “Sir” or “Ma’am.”
  • Address other parties in the case as “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” or “Ms.”
  • Turn off all cell phones and other devices that could be disruptive
  • Don’t talk, whisper or write notes to anyone after the judge has entered the courtroom
  • No food, drinks or chewing gum is allowed
  • Don’t bring newspapers, magazines or other reading materials into the courtroom
  • Speak loudly enough to be heard
  • Be clear in your communication and act politely
  • Don’t interrupt anyone else who is speaking even when you disagree with what is being said
  • If an attorney makes an objection during your testimony, stop speaking until the judge decides whether you should continue speaking
  • Respectfully ask to have any question you don’t understand clarified
  • You may politely request a drink of water or a break if you need one

If you have specific questions about matters that may come up in court, be sure to address them beforehand with your lawyer. At C.E. Borman & Associates, we are committed to making the legal process go as smoothly as possible for you.

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