Court etiquette
Court etiquette

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Court etiquette
  • The judge
  • Addressing the judge
  • Submissions
  • When to stop arguing
  • Leaving the courtroom
  • Your opponent
  • The clerk and usher

The most important rule is to be polite. If you are polite to everyone at all times, it is hard to go seriously wrong.

The judge

Make sure all mobile phones have been switched off before the judge comes in.

Stand up when the judge enters the room: you will be reminded to do so in any event by the usher or the clerk.

Bow to the judge when they come to the bench (their 'desk' at the front of the court). The judge will also bow. You should also bow when he stands up to leave the courtroom.

The judge will usually indicate when they are ready for someone to address them at the start of the case. They will generally want to hear from the claimant’s advocate first.

Addressing the judge

  1. district judge - Sir or Madam

  2. county court judge (ie a circuit judge) – Your Honour

  3. recorder or any person sitting as a deputy circuit judge – Your Honour

  4. circuit judge sitting in the High Court – My Lord / My Lady

  5. High Court judge - My Lord / My Lady

Stand up whenever you address the judge. The first person to do so should indicate who he represents, and the name and client of his opponent.

Whenever you are addressed by the judge, whether alone or both you and