Overview of courtroom etiquette
The courtroom is a place of order and structure. You should always act in a respectful manner when in the presence of the judge, court staff, attorneys, court officers and other persons attending court. Once the court has made a ruling in your case, continue to be respectful as you exit the courtroom. Attempts to disrupt the court once the judge has made a ruling could result in your being held in contempt (which could include jail time and/or a fine, or both).
When Appearing in Court
- Be on time
- Throw away gum, food, and drinks before entering the courtroom
- Stand when the judge enters and leaves the courtroom
- Stand when you are speaking to the judge
- Speak clearly when you respond to the judge’s questions
- Always address the judge as “Your Honor”
- Never interrupt the judge. If you are unsure of what you heard, wait until the judge or other person speaking at your hearing has finished talking before asking a question
- Enter and leave the courtroom quietly, so you do not disturb others
- Only approach the bench when instructed to do so.
What to Wear
If you are appearing in court you should dress nicely and in a manner that shows respect for the court.
Here are some things you should NOT wear:
- Hats inside the courtroom (except those worn for religious purposes)
- T-shirts depicting violence, sexual acts, profanity, or illegal drugs
- Tube or halter tops/ plunging necklines/midriffs
- Ripped or torn jeans
- Mini-skirts or shorts
- Baggy pants that fall below the waist
- Muscle shirts (usually worn as undergarments)
If you are not dressed properly, you may be asked to leave the court and return at a later date. This will delay your hearing and require you to appear in court more than once.
What Time is My Hearing?
If you have questions about your case such as the time or date of your hearing, you can contact the court clerk’s office for assistance. You may also ask for directions to the court and the courtroom that you should appear.
What if I Need Special Assistance?
If you have a disability and need to Request a Wheelchair, do not speak or understand English well and Need an Interpreter, or require special accommodations in the courtroom, please call the Court Clerk’s office at least 10 business days before your hearing, or as soon as possible after receiving your notice to appear in court, to allow the court time to properly assist you.
- Request a Wheelchair - To request a wheelchair you must contact the Sheriff's Department at (404) 612-5152.
- Interpreter Services
What should I do if I cannot appear at my hearing?
If you are not able to appear in court, contact the Court Clerk at least 48-hours before your scheduled hearing. You should also keep in mind that a judge may make a ruling in your case without you being present. If you do not appear at your hearing and fail to notify the court, a warrant may be issued for your arrest in criminal cases. You should also keep in mind that a judge may make a ruling in your case if you fail to come to court after being properly notified in civil cases such as divorce, child support, and temporary protective order hearings.
Items that should NOT enter the courthouse:
- Weapons of any kind
- Electronic equipment such as video, voice recorders or cameras (unless approved by the court)
- Food, beverages, chewing gum and tobacco More>>
Cell Phones and Mobile Devices
The use of cell phones is not allowed in the courtroom. Your cell phone or pager must be turned off before entering so that you do not disrupt the court. Attorneys and other court personnel must place their phones on silent/vibrate mode.
Before entering the court you will go through a security checkpoint. You will be asked to walk through a metal detector or an officer will use a wand to check for prohibited items. You should allow the officer to search any bags, packages or personal belongings that will be taken into the courtroom. If you refuse to cooperate, you may be denied entry to your hearing. More >>