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10 Things You Must Know if You’re Representing Yourself in Court

person going to court

The idea of appearing in front of a Judge at Court can be a very stressful or daunting experience.  We are here to help you and to take away some of the stress of fronting a Judge.

A key to feeling relaxed and in control is having an idea about what might happen at Court, so 10 basic tips to know about attending Court are:-

  1. Before you go to Court make sure you know what the main aim of the Court date is and discuss with your lawyer the best strategy to achieve that aim. Our practice is to have a final meeting (or phonecall) prior to Court, or a meeting on the morning of Court, to discuss any new developments and give a general description of what you can expect at Court.
  2. There are no silly questions. We are here to help you, if you do not understand any part of what happens with your case it is always best to ask and your lawyer will be happy to explain the process in detail to you.
  3. Depending on the type of Court date and how busy the Court is, you could be at Court for an hour, or it may take mostly all day, so make sure you have set aside enough time and made arrangements for your children as necessary.
  4. Tell us any news or updates. Lawyers will always do best when armed with good information, so if there has been a development, let us know so we can be well prepared.
  5. Dress to impress: Whether you like it or not, first impressions count.  A general rule is wear to Court what you would wear to a job interview.
  6. You will likely not have to do any talking to the Judge unless it is a Trial and you are giving evidence. At most Court dates your lawyer will do all the talking and your part will be to listen and give instructions to your lawyer when decisions need to be made.
  7. When you enter the Courtroom it is good etiquette to bow to the Judge. It is also the practice to stand and then bow when the Judge enters or leaves the room. A Judge might notice your good manners.
  8. Please make sure your phone is turned off when you enter a Court room.
  9. While your lawyer is speaking to the Judge your lawyer may turn to you and ask you a question from time to time. This is a normal occurrence in a Court room and you should simply just answer your lawyer, and they will then talk to the Judge.
  10. If your lawyer is talking to the Judge and you wish to add something, usually the best way is to wait for a short break in the conversation and then get your lawyer’s attention. Don’t be afraid to ask or comment if you think it is important as this is after all your case.

There are of course many more aspects of appearing at a Court that are beyond the scope of this summary. We do strongly recommend parties applying to the Family Courts obtain legal representation as it is a highly emotive area of law and having a lawyer can assist to reduce stress as well as adding the benefit of legal experience and practice.

Our team at McNamara & Associates pride ourselves on explaining the law and making you feel in control of the situation in complex areas of Court litigation.

If you would like to discuss in more detail what you might expect when you attend Court on your matter please do not hesitate to contact one of our Ipswich Solicitors on 13 58 28.