It is important to adhere to the court etiquette in Tasmania as it displays the requisite respect for the courts and legal system. Everyone must follow the court’s procedural rules. If you do not follow this etiquette, the judicial officers may require you to exit the court or they may find you in contempt of court.
Preparing for court
You can prepare for your court matter by getting to know the court system before attending for your own court matter. You can get to know the Tasmanian court system by reading the courts’ websites for the Magistrates Court and Supreme Court, or observe a court proceeding prior to your own by arriving early at your proceeding.
If you are attending court to observe a proceeding, you should sit silently in the public seating area in the back of the courtroom. Most proceedings are open to the public unless they have a ‘closed court’ sign.
When attending your proceeding, arrive early to allow adequate time to check for any changes to find the correct courtroom. You can find the correct courtroom by checking the daily list online or in the court foyer. You can also ask for assistance from the court officers.
Entering and leaving the courtroom in Tasmania
When entering and leaving the courtroom, it is etiquette to nod your head in the direction of the coat of arms. The coat of arms is behind and above the judges. This is a sign of respect for the legal system in Tasmania.
Etiquette in the courtroom in Tasmania
You must behave appropriately in the courtroom and maintain the required standard of behaviour. This includes dress attire. When entering the courtroom, your matter may not have been called upon yet. In that case, you should sit and wait in the public seating area located in the back of the courtroom until your matter has been called.
While in the courtroom in Tasmania, you should ensure you do the following:
- Switch off all mobile and electronic devices. Switching to silent is not efficient;
- Sit silently unless called upon by a judicial officer;
- Not eat, drink or smoke; and
- Not record or publish any of the proceedings.
Court etiquette towards the judicial officers
The judicial officer sits at the front facing the rest of the courtroom. They are often the Judge or Magistrate. Everyone in the courtroom must show respect towards the judicial officer by the following:
- Address the judicial officer as ‘Your Honour’;
- Stand whenever the judicial officer addresses you;
- Listen to and follow the judicial officer’s directions;
- Stand silently and bow your head at the judicial officer when entering or leaving the courtroom.
Dress etiquette in the courtroom
You should dress in a tidy and conservative manner for court in Tasmania. This demonstrates respect for the court system but also assists you in giving a good first impression by appearing like you are putting in your best effort, especially when self-representing.
You should dress in:
- Subtle colours;
- Long sleeved shirt and pants for men;
- Below knee length skirts, dress pants or dresses for women; and
- Clean closed in shoes.
You should not dress in:
- Fluorescent colours;
- Singlet or strapless tops;
- Transparent tops;
- Clothing with provocative slogans or graphics;
- Bottoms that are above knee length;
- Open-toe shoes;
- Sunglasses; or
- Hats or caps.
The judicial officer may ask you to leave the courtroom if you have not dressed appropriately.
If you are a child or adult victim of family violence, you can request for a Court Support Officer to provide additional non-legal support with your court matter.
If you need further legal advice, call Go To Court Lawyers on 1300 636 846 or request a call-back at www.gotocourt.com.au.