There is certain court etiquette in Western Australia that should be upheld in the courts. Anyone who attends court needs to show the appropriate standard of behaviour to demonstrate respect for Western Australia’s legal system. If this standard of behaviour is not shown, you will be asked to leave the court or even be found in contempt of court. This applies equally if the matter is a civil matter or a criminal trial.
Be prepared for court in Western Australia
When attending court in Australia, you should make yourself aware of what to expect by being prepared. To familiarise yourself with the court etiquette in WA, it is suggested to attend court prior to your own court matter. Courts in WA are open to the public unless there are special circumstances which make it a private hearing. If you attend court, sit quietly at the back of the court in the public gallery to observe. You can find listings of the court proceedings on the Western Australia Courts website or the courts’ notice boards. Alternatively, you can ask registry staff at the courts.
You should ensure you are ready for your own court matter by arriving on time. It is recommended to arrive earlier to find the courtroom and to anticipate any changes to your court matter. You should check the date, time and location of your court matter on the Western Australia Courts website prior to your hearing.
Dress code for court in Western Australia
In Western Australian courts, the dress code is tidy and conservative. The following recommendations of what to wear to court is what is generally acceptable as proper court etiquette in WA courts:
- Subtle coloured clothing such as dark colours and white;
- A suit, although this is not essential;
- Collared button up shirt making sure to buttoned it up to an appropriate point;
- Pants or a skirt at or below knee level; and
- Clean closed in shoes.
The following are examples of what would not be acceptable in court:
- Sleeveless tops;
- Pants or skirts that are above knee level;
- Open toe shoes such as thongs or sandals;
- Sunglasses; and
- Hats or caps.
Entering and leaving the courtroom
When you enter and leave the courtroom, it is customary and good court etiquette in WA for you to bow at the Coat of Arms behind the judicial officers as a sign of respect.
Standard of behaviour in the courtroom
Court etiquette in WA also requires a certain standard of behaviour to followed. This standard of behaviour in the courtroom should be followed in court as it is a place of respect and formality. The following are examples of the standards of behaviour expected in the courtroom:
- Sit silently unless called upon by the magistrate or judge (judicial officer);
- Follow the judicial officer’s instructions;
- Address the judicial officer as ‘Your Honour’;
- Turn off all audio and/or mobile devices;
- Refrain from eating or drinking;
- Refrain from recording or publishing any part of the proceeding.
For further assistance
If you are a victim or a person going to court, you may seek assistance from support services such as Victim Support Service.
It is always advisable to seek legal advice. You can contact Go To Court Lawyers on 1300 636 846 or request a call-back from our website.