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What should I do when my name is called in court?

When your name is called, go up to the front of the courtroom. There will be a place for you to stand, facing the judge, likely between the Crown and duty counsel (or your own lawyer).

When speaking to the judge, you should refer to him or her as “Your Honour.” If a justice of the peace is sitting at the front of the court, you should refer to him or her as “Your Worship.” Remember, judges wear a red sash while justices of the peace wear a green sash.

You will probably be asked to confirm your name. You may also be asked if you know what you are charged with. If you do not know what you are charged with, you can ask the court to read out your charge(s).

If you haven’t received it before you entered the courtroom, the Crown will then likely give you your disclosure package.

After receiving your disclosure package, the judge will likely ask what you want to do with your case. If you have received advice and/or instructions from your lawyer or duty counsel, you may already know what you want to do, and can tell the judge at this point. However, if you do not know what you want to do, you can ask the judge if you can “hold down” or “stand down” your case until you’ve had an opportunity to speak to your lawyer and/or consider your options.

If you don’t have a lawyer, you may wish to speak to duty counsel if you haven’t already done so.

If your case gets “held down” or “stood down” your name will get called up again later and you’ll get another chance to tell the judge what you want to do. Try to be patient, as it may take a while before your name gets called up again.