Attending court can be a daunting experience. It is a formal environment and as a result, there can be hefty consequences if rules aren’t followed.
Below, we’ve outlined 4 examples of things you shouldn’t do when attending court.
1. Not attend court, or leave before your matter is called
Court is a very busy place. Magistrates and judges have many matters to deal with each day. As a result, waiting times can extend for hours.
However, it is not a good idea to not turn up, or to leave before your matter is called. If you do leave, the court has the power to convict you in your absence. In some cases, the court can also issue a warrant for your arrest.
If on the day of court you are feeling unwell, you should obtain a medical certificate explaining why you are unable to attend court, and fax or email a copy to the court as soon as possible. Your matter may then be adjourned, if the magistrate believes that you have a reasonable excuse to not be in attendance.
2. Abuse or swear at the magistrate
It is important to conduct yourself in a courteous manner while you are in court. If you are disrespectful to a magistrate or to the Court, you could face 14 days imprisonment and a $1,100 fine.
3. Take photos or record on your phone
You cannot take photographs or videos, or record any sounds. This applies inside the court room as well as on court premises.
If you do decide to snap a photo while at court, you could be facing a $22,000 fine and 12 months imprisonment.
4. Take sharp objects or glass items into court
At most courts in New South Wales, you will be required to proceed through security before entering the courthouse. Your bag will be scanned, and you may be required to pass through a screening device.
If you have unintentionally left a pair of nail scissors or a glass water bottle inside your bag, you will be required to leave it with security. You can then retrieve the item when you leave court. However, if you fail to comply with the security officer’s request to surrender the item, you may receive a $550 fine.
If you attend court with a knife or weapon in your possession, the consequences are much higher. The maximum penalty ranges from a fine of $2,200 through to $11,000 and up to 2 years imprisonment.