February 22, 2023 | Divorce

How To Prepare For Court

Courtroom etiquette is an unfamiliar concept to most. However, there are rules that guide what is considered to be acceptable behaviour during litigation. It is important to note that the rules are not limited to the courtroom itself, once you enter the courthouse you must be respectful.

Dress Code

You must be properly dressed to go to court. Your clothing should not be casual, and it needs to be put together. The dress code is taken very seriously by judges. It happens rarely, however, they do have the right to ask you to leave and not hear your case if they feel that you are dressed in a disrespectful manner. Furthermore, hats and other than religious head coverings, are not permitted considering Bill 21-2022. You cannot chew gum in court or bring outside beverages. There are glasses and pitchers of water in the court room. Moreover, you are not permitted to eat in the courtroom.


Punctuality is also a very important element of courtroom etiquette. Therefore, it is recommended that you arrive early. At the Montreal courthouse there are security checkpoints so there could be a line of people waiting in ahead of you. You do not want to risk being late. Your lawyer will most probably prepare you to come early as well.

Prohibited Behaviours

While it is evident that weapons and illegal substances are not permitted in the courthouse, there is a different rule for cellphones. You are allowed to bring your phone into the courthouse and can use it in hallway. However, it must be turned off in the courtroom. Furthermore, taking photos or recording is prohibited in the court room.

Having Support At Court

You are usually allowed to be accompanied by a family member or a peer when going to court. However, family court cases are held huis clos which means that they are closed to the public. 

Speaking In The Court Room

Additionally, if you are represented by a lawyer you are not allowed to speak unless the judge asks you a question directly. If you want to speak during a hearing, you need to ask the judge for permission. You can also wait for them to address you. When speaking to a judge, you will call them “Mister Justice, Madam Justice” or “M. le juge, Mme la juge” before their last name. When speaking in court, make sure to be clear and concise. However, if you have a lawyer, they will speak on your behalf.

Client Behaviour In The Courtroom

It is important to always listen to your lawyer because if you do not, there is a very high chance that it will impact your case negatively. Everything that you write can be produced in a court record. Therefore, you should make sure to have clean text messages and emails!

When you are in court you are under a microscope, and it is crucial to act accordingly. Maintaining a poker face, no sighing, laughing, whisper, head gestures, or body language as it is disrespectful. If you do not follow the rules, you can receive a warning or be asked to leave. There is also the possibility that you will be charged with contempt of court if the infraction is serious.