I recently attended court for the first time. While your first time attending court can be really intimidating, below are some tips which can hopefully put you at ease if you ever need to attend Court:

  • Make sure you arrive in good time; we tend to recommend arriving at the Court at least an hour beforehand. The Court usually directs parties to attend an hour beforehand so it is important to leave time so that you can get settled and meet with your legal representative. Private meeting rooms at the Court are limited in number and are on a first come first served basis.
  • Bring as little with you as possible, as security will need to check your bag and you will need to empty your pockets before being scanned by the staff. The staff at the Court are all incredibly friendly, and there is no need to rush.
  • Bring some water and a snack. Court hearings can be unpredictable, the case listed before yours may overrun or the judge may decide a break is necessary midway through your hearing. Although your case is listed the Court does not guarantee that it will be heard or even heard at that time. Some Courts have café facilities, but it is best to bring your own water and snack just in case. You will be asked by security to drink from any bottle that you have. You will not be able to take it into the Courtroom with you unfortunately unless it remains in a bag.
  • There are no rules as to what you should/should not wear, but it is a good idea to dress smartly if possible.
  • Upon arrival at the Court, refer to the sign in sheet or to a member of staff so that the Court is aware of your arrival and the ushers know where to find you if needed.
  • Make sure your mobile phone is turned off before you head into the courtroom. You are not permitted to take photos or recordings while inside the Court.

You are welcome to bring someone to the Court building to support you, but please note that they will not be able to enter the courtroom unless everyone at the hearing and the Judge agrees that they can.

How do I know when it is my turn to speak? | Attending Court

If you have a lawyer – they will speak for you. If you are representing yourself, your opportunity to speak will depend on whether you are the applicant or respondent. The applicant tends to speak first.

During your hearing you may hear your opponent or their solicitor mention something that you are not in agreement with. Resist the temptation to react. It is a good idea to have a notepad and pen with you and you can then wrote down your comments either as a reminder if you need to speak or to pass to your representative so that they can address the Court on those issues.

If you are worried about seeing your ex-partner, please notify your solicitor or the Court in advance of the hearing so that they can make a request for special measures. Such measures include separate waiting rooms, separate entrance/exits and screens in the courtroom. The Court needs time to consider such requests so make sure you leave enough time for them to do this.

If you have a disability, please notify your solicitor of the adjustments needed so that they can make arrangements with the Court.

Attending Court for the first time can be quite daunting. However, the Court staff are always on hand to provide assistance. If you have any worries beforehand, you can also call the Court office who will be able to deal with any general enquiries.


And we are also available to speak to, please contact our Family law team if you wish to discuss attending Court for the first time