Handle your day in court

It is a good idea to get some tip information about what to do before you go to court.

It is a good idea to get some tip information about what to do before you go to court.
 
Stick to court date 
Court is not an appointment that can be missed or rescheduled.  If you miss your court date for a criminal case or contempt matter, a warrant may be issued for your arrest. 

Don’t be late 
You should arrive at the courtroom 30 minutes before your hearing time. Consider the traffic, weather, parking, frequency of the tax to allow your self plenty of extra time. Being late can make you anxious and unable to do your best.

Be prepared
Carry a file with copies of all papers you and the other side have filed with the court, or given to each other. Have a notepad and pens for taking notes during the hearing.

Note points
Prepare whatever you want to say and as you cover each point, check it off. Before you conclude, look back to see if you have covered each point.

The judge will only want to hear information that is needed to evaluate the requests made in the court papers.

Take evidence
Sometimes a court hearing is a trial where you bring all your witnesses and evidence. Read all notices and orders you received about the hearing carefully. If you are not sure of what will happen at a hearing, or you are not sure of what to bring to the hearing, get help right away by calling court administration or the Judge’s clerk.

Dress nicely 
Shorts, T-shirts, plunging necklines, and torn clothing are not appropriate. Lawyers are required to wear suits. You do not have to buy new clothing for court, but remember it is a formal place and you want to be conservative and respectful in dress and behavior.
 
Don’t take children
Unless the court has told you to bring your children to the hearing, make arrangements for someone to take care of your children.

Mind your manners
Certain behaviours are not allowed because they are noisy, distracting or disrespectful.  You cannot: chew gum, eat, read a newspaper, sleep, wear a hat, listen to earphones, carry a cell phone or a camera.

Listen carefully, ask permission of the judge to speak, talk directly to the judge and not the other side, avoid arguing with or interrupting another person, and control your emotions.

Before you leave courtroom make sure you understand what happens next and politely ask questions if you do not understand.

pauluskayiggwa@yahoo.com

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