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I Have To Go To Court And Don't Know What To Expect

Do you have any upcoming court date? If so, you may be experiencing some anxiety because you don’t know what to say or do, or how to conduct yourself in court. If you have a lawyer, it will be your lawyer’s job to speak to the judge and present your case (this applies to docket dates and chambers. A trial is another story altogether!) If you are representing yourself, it is important that you know how to address the court and present your case.

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Sit in the gallery in the courtroom, When it is time for your matter, the clerk will call your name and you should come forward.

  • If you are in Provincial Court, refer to the judge as “Your Honour” or “Judge So-and-so”.

  • If you are in Queen’s Bench court, refer to the judge as “My Lord” (for a man) and “My Lady” (for a woman). Judges in Queen’s Bench are called “Justice So-and-so”.

  • When speaking to the judge (or justice), you can only rely on sworn information before the court. This is why your affidavit and/or court forms are so important. You cannot introduce new evidence and information that was not previously sworn to.

  • Everything in court is recorded. This means a transcript could be ordered if necessary.

  • I recommend dressing appropriately for court. It’s not necessary to wear a suit or dress formally, but I strongly recommend dress pants (or a skirt) and a nice shirt. You won’t be turned away for wearing torn jeans or sweat pants, but this is your opportunity to create a first impression for the judge.

  • Lastly, remember to be courteous to the court and to the other party. This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised how often people get caught up in the emotional aspects of family law litigation and forget to show courtesy.

Below are links to videos that teach us more about what to expect in court:


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