Court Room Etiquette

Here are a few tips on how to behave in court

Court RoomClick to enlarge image

Important business is conducted in court and the outcome of proceedings can have a dramatic effect on the lives of those involved. For those reasons, everyone in court is expected to behave reasonably and respond to any instructions given by the judge or court officials. Failure to follow some simple guidelines could lead to a finding of contempt of court, which may result in a fine or even imprisonment.

Tips for good courtroom etiquette include:

  • Arrive in good time for your case, dressed appropriately and not under the influence of drink or drugs.
  • Remain quiet until your case is called.
  • Be polite and courteous to the judge, other court users and court officials.
  • Smoking, eating and drinking are not allowed in courtrooms.
  • You should not read in the courtroom unless asked to by the judge.
  • Taking audio or video recordings or photographs is not allowed in courtrooms.
  • Other than guide dogs, pets are not allowed in courtrooms.
  • Do not bring unnecessary items or items that could be used as a potential weapon to court as they will be liable to confiscation.
  • Children under 14 are not normally allowed in a courtroom unless they are giving evidence, or have the court’s prior approval to attend for educational purposes.
  • You are expected to stand up when the judge comes into or leaves court. You will know this is happening when the macer announces ‘court’
  • And please don’t forget to switch your mobile phone off.

Related FAQs

Q.Are you allowed to speak to the judge or others in court?
Q.Can the media record what happens or take photos in court?
Q.Do all judges wear robes? Why do judges wear different robes in civil and criminal courts?
Q.How do I address a judge in court?
Q.What happens if I am late for court or break any of the other rules?

View all related FAQs

The Scottish Court Service

The Scottish Court Service (SCS) is responsible for providing the staff, buildings and technology to support Scotland’s courts, the work of the independent judiciary, the courts’ Rules Councils and the Office of the Public Guardian. The Board of the Scottish Court Service is chaired by the Lord President. Visit the SCS website www.scotcourts.gov.uk for details of daily court business including court locations, contact numbers, rules, guidance and advice for both professional users and members of the public.

Find out more about attending court