LegalYou: How to Act in Court

You’ve heard it all.

How to act on a first date, on a job interview, in a public swimming pool, with your in-laws. But how you act in court can prove to be the most consequential of them all. is always here to help prepare you for representing yourself.

And your court behavior is as important as anything else.

Knowing what to do and what not to do can help you avoid needless problems and distractions from the case at hand. Let’s start with some basic stuff. Be punctual. Give yourself time to park and find the right courtroom.

Dress neatly. You are making an impression. Be courteous and respectful to everyone in court, especially the judge. Doing otherwise is never a good option.

Address the judge as Your Honor when he or she asks you a question. Stand up and face them to answer. In any court case scenario, speak clearly and sincerely. Avoid being argumentative, sarcastic, whiny, or overly dramatic.

Never interrupt.

And when you are stating specific facts, like dates and times, be just that– specific. If you can’t, make it clear you’re estimating. This links back to proper preparation for the case, which would include familiarizing yourself with all your paperwork and labeling your exhibits.

Make sure you have at least two copies of any photo or document you plan on submitting to the judge. Additionally, don’t bring food or drinks. Bring a friend for support, if needed. But make sure they remain silent.

If you have young kids, you should avoid taking them to court. Hire a babysitter, or ask a friend to take care of them while you’re in court. And be sure that you’ve put enough money in the parking meter when you come into the courthouse.

If the proceedings have started, you may not be able to leave to feed the meter. Essentially, you want to avoid doing anything that will be distracting, disrespectful, or destructive to the court’s processes. In the end, it gives you the best chance of defending yourself.

Any other questions you have regarding this or other legal matters, visit