The 12 Commandments of Court Manners; What to expect at a hearing/interim hearing/mention

Court can be daunting. There are so many do’s and don’ts … here are a few for you to consider and keep in mind:

  1. “Dress to Impress.” While you don’t have to wear a suit, you do need to dress respectfully. Consult your lawyer regarding what they recommend, in their opinion, as suitable attire regarding what you should wear
  2. Bow to the judge when you walk into the court room and as you depart
  3. Sit behind your lawyer on the bench seat available. Typically, the applicant sits to the left of the judge and the respondent to the right of the judge
  4. When swearing in or affirming, look the judge in the face the entire time. Do not look away or let your gaze wander
  5. Face of steel, poker face. If you are pulling faces or rolling your eyes, the judge will pull you up
  6. Refer to the judge as “Your Honour”
  7. Keep your answers to short “yes” or “no”
  8. Write notes and pass to your lawyer, not barrister. Lawyer will vet the note and forward as necessary to the barrister
  9. If the other side examining you gets long winded, ask for the specific question again.
  10. If the barrister isn’t getting to the point, the judge will ask the question.
  11. If your barrister is about to stand up, shut up. They won’t want you to keep talking
  12. The lawyer and barrister may “snub” you at first because during the hearing they are not supposed to counsel/coach you. In a 3-day hearing, the lawyer and barrister should start relaxing a little on / by the final day. If you are the applicant, you will be on the stand and cross-examined prior to the respondent.

    BONUS two:

  13. Sometimes the expert witnesses go before the applicant and respondent. It depends on the judge and what order the judge prefers
  14. Do not use your phone or computer in court. If you need to have notes while court is in session, have a hard-copy or printed version

Disclaimer

This is general advice only and is not provided as legal advice. If you have a legal issue, you should contact a lawyer and/or accountant before making a decision about what to do or applying to the Court. DivorceAnswered.com.au cannot provide legal advice. If you have an emergency situation, please contact Emergency '000'. © Divorce Pty Ltd