Courtroom Etiquette

At the beginning of the morning or afternoon, the list of hearings will be read to see who is present. When your name is read, stand and identify yourself.

When the judge enters or leaves the courtroom, everyone must rise to show respect. People must also stand when speaking to the judge.

Speaking in Court

When talking

  • always stand when you are speaking to the judge or any witness
  • always speak clearly and slowly
  • always address the judge as "Your Honour"
  • never interrupt
  • never shout
  • never argue

If something occurs in the courtroom that you do not understand, it is permissible to ask the judge to explain what is happening.

The Appearance

When the judge calls your name, go to the front of the courtroom. The judge should be informed of all witnesses present.

The judge may ask the witnesses to leave the courtroom until required to give testimony. Each party will be given the opportunity to present their case and to cross-examine the witnesses for the other party.

Questioning
Questioning witnesses happens this way:

  • Examination
    You ask your witness questions to bring out what they know about the matter. Questions for your witness should be prepared before the hearing and should be as short and simple as possible. Remember that you must ask questions, not just make statements.
  • Cross-examination
    The other party asks your witness questions. The purpose of cross-examination is to bring out inconsistencies or missed facts in the witness' evidence. When a witness is being examined, making notes will help you to cross-examine. You do not have to cross-examine.
  • Re-examination
    You have the opportunity to ask your witness to elaborate on statements made during the cross-examination. Only questions related to what the witness said during cross-examination are allowed. No new facts may be brought in.

Summation/Final Argument
Both the plaintiff and the defendant briefly outline their cases before the Judge makes a decision.

Decision of the Court
The judge will make a decision at the appearance or at a later date on the weight of the evidence presented in court and on an assessment of the credibility of the witnesses.