Court Etiquette in Perth

When attending court in Perth or elsewhere in Western Australia, it is important to be aware of court etiquette. Court etiquette means behaving appropriately in court to show respect for the legal system and to demonstrate that you are taking the matter seriously. If a person disregards court etiquette and causes offence they may be told to leave the courtroom or even be charged with the criminal offence of contempt of court. This article outlines the rules of court etiquette in Perth and the rest of WA.

Court Etiquette in Perth And Open Court

Most court matters in WA are dealt with in ‘open court’. This means that the court is open and members of the public including media can attend to watch. If you want to familiarise yourself with court processes prior to attedning court for your matter, you can go to court to watch some other matters first.

If you attend court for a matter that you are not involved in, you should watch quietly from the back of the court in the public gallery. You can find listings of the court proceedings on the WA Courts website or on the screens in the court foyer. Alternatively, you can ask the court registry staff which courts are open for you to watch.

Court Etiquette in Perth And Punctuality

You should always ensure you arrive for court on time. It is recommended to arrive before the time that your matter is listed to be heard in order to find the courtroom and in case there are any changes.

If you are attending the Magistrates Court, be aware that your matter will probably not be dealt with at the time it is listed to be heard. Court matters are generally placed in a list, which starts at a designated time, such as 10am. If your matter is listed at 10 am, this just means it may be called on at any time after 10am. If the daily court list is busy, your matter may not be called on until the afternoon. It is always a good idea to come to court prepared to be there for the whole day as court etiquette requires you to be available whenever the court is ready to hear your matter. 

Dress Code

Court etiquette in Perth requires you to wear clothing that is tidy and conservative. The following is generally acceptable for court:

  • Subtle colours like dark colours and white;
  • Suits;
  • Collared button-up shirts;
  • Pants or a skirt longer than knee level; and
  • Clean closed shoes.

The following should not be worn in court:

  • Sleeveless or revealing tops;
  • Clothing with obscene or offensive images or words;
  • Pants or skirts shorter than knee level;
  • Short shorts
  • Thongs.

Entering And Leaving The Courtroom

When you enter or leave a courtroom, you should show your respect by bowing at the Coat of Arms behind the bench. Court etiquette also requires that you turn off your mobile phone before entering and remove any hat or sunglasses. 

Standard Of Behaviour In The Courtroom

Court etiquette in WA also requires people to observe a certain standard of behaviour when in courtrooms. The following are examples of this:

  • Be silent unless called upon by the magistrate or judge;
  • Follow the judicial officer’s instructions;
  • Address the judge or magistrate as ‘Your Honour’;
  • Turn off mobile devices;
  • Do not eat or drink;
  • Do not record or publish any part of the proceeding.

For Further Assistance

If you are a victim or witness in a court proceeding, you may want to seek further assistance from a support service like Victim Support Service. If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter please contact Go To Court Lawyers.


Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.
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