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What should I do inside the courtroom during my first appearance?

Enter the courtroom, take a seat in the “body” of the court and wait for your name to be called. The body of the court is the area of seating behind where the lawyers sit. You usually cannot enter the area where the lawyers sit unless the judge or the Crown asks you to.

Here are some things to remember:

  • You should dress appropriately for court. Try not to wear T-shirts, tank-tops, or shorts. If you have sunglasses or a hat (except religious headdress), you must take them off before entering court unless you have a medical condition that requires you to wear them.
  • It is difficult to deal with your case and provide proper care for your minor children. If you can’t arrange for child-care, try to bring another adult with you who can mind your children outside of the courtroom while you deal with your case.
  • Court is very busy and there are lots of cases to deal with. Be prepared to spend most-of or the whole day at the courthouse.
  • Turn off all electronic devices before entering court. Vibration or silent mode is not allowed.
  • Gum-chewing, eating, or drinking are not permitted.
  • Once you enter the courtroom, you should take a seat and wait quietly until your case is called.
  • Cases are not necessarily called in alphabetical order.
  • The Crown controls which names are called. Your lawyer or duty counsel do not control when your name is called. They will try their best to get your name called as soon as possible.
  • In most courthouses, lawyers who are present in court will have their cases called before unrepresented people (including those who are using the assistance of duty counsel). Please remember this, and try to be patient.
  • Everything being said in court is being recorded. Remember this when speaking to the judge at the front of the courtroom.