Published: 28 April 2022
Author: RCT Family Law team
I am attending Family Court – how can I best prepare?
Whether you are being assisted by a lawyer or you are self-represented, attending court can be quite daunting and unfamiliar. Here are a few pointers to remember when attending court.
Arriving at Court
It is recommended that you arrive 30 or 45 minutes before your matter has been listed. If you are unsure about what time your matter has been listed for, you may contact the court directly to enquire.
Bring all documents relevant to your matter to the court with you, including documents that have been filed with the court, police statements, contracts, photos or any other relevant information. If you wish to present documents to the Court (also known as ‘tendering’ documents), bring three photocopies of each document: one for you, one for the other party and one for the judge or presiding judicial officer. We also recommend that you bring a pen and paper so you may take notes.
You will be required to do a security screening upon entry into the court building and to show your vaccination certificate to the security staff. You are not permitted to bring the following into the court building:
- Martial arts weapons
- Baton, or
- Any other item that can be used as a weapon.
Any item that appears to be non-offensive, for example a glass drink bottle, will be confiscated and returned to you upon leaving the court building.
Be advised that courts are not appropriate places to bring your children. Children under the age of 18 are not permitted to enter the court room. We recommend you make childcare arrangements for the day you are to attend court.
Can I bring someone with me when I attend court?
You are permitted to bring a friend or a support person with you to court, however they are not permitted to sit at the bar table with you if you are self-represented. They will be required to sit in the public gallery behind the bar table. You may seek the approval of the presiding judicial officer for them to be seated with you at the bar table. If you are being represented, you may sit together in the public gallery.
Court dress and behaviour
The court is a formal place, and you are advised to dress accordingly.
Before entering the court room, remove any hats, caps or sunglasses and do not:
- Eat, drink or chew gum;
- Have your mobile phone switched on; or
Use any electronic devices (unless permitted by the court staff).