Attending court is a daunting and intimidating experience. We understand this at Catron Simmons Lawyers and we are here to assist you during this time. Here are some frequently asked questions and tips for attending court that we get asked often:
I have received a Court Attendance Notice, now what do I do?
When charged by Police you will receive a Court Attendance Notice. These notices come in a number of forms including:
- Court Attendance Notice – this is typically posted to your address following a court election of a ticket (traffic infringement notice) or a CIN (criminal infringement notice).
- Field CAN – which is given to a person at the scene or time of the event. There are no bail conditions attached.
- Future CAN – which is given after the incident and either posted to your home address or given to you in person. This does not have any bail conditions attached.
- Bail CAN – this is given to you at the Police Station typically, after being held in custody for a period of time. This CAN does have bail conditions attached and you are required to sign those conditions in order to be released from Police custody.
Regardless of which, being charged with any offence is serious, and you should obtain competent legal advice early. Catron Simmons Lawyers can assist you.
What to expect when going to court
The time, date and location of the court that you are required to attend. Court typically starts at 9:30am, you should arrive early to find the court room you are in and get your named signed off with the court officer.
There are some important etiquette rules when entering a courtroom including:
- Phone is switched off
- No eating, drinking and/or smoking
- You should limit your talking in the courtroom, if you have to talk do so very quietly or step outside
- When the magistrate / Judge speak to you call them ‘your honour’.
- As you enter and leave the courtroom you should bow to the coat of arms sitting above the magistrate or judges head.
What should I wear?
Court attire should be conservative and well presented. Ensure that you are groomed. Defiantly don’t wear any clothing that would be deemed offensive.
How do I know where to go on the morning of court?
In each courthouse there are often signs telling you where you need to sign in or a registration desk. Once you have told the court officer your name and what you are wanting to do, he/she will direct you to a specific courtroom. It is important to wait inside the courtroom so that when your case is called you can hear it. The court officer will not be coming outside to call your name in the morning and your matter will go on the bottom of the pile if you do not answer your name.
In each courthouse there will be a listing board with everyone’s name of it. Find your name on the board and go to the courtroom that your matter is listed in.
If you are unsure about where to go or what to do attend the registry office or speak with a court officer.
Courtesy of Legal Aid New South Wales
Can anyone else other than a lawyer represent me?
You have the right to be represented by a lawyer or you can choose to represent yourself, it is only in exceptional circumstances that a court may allow another person to represent you.
Sometimes you would be allowed a support person to sit with you in court, however that person has no standing in proceedings and cannot participate.
What do I do if I need an interpreter?
If you need an interpreter you should contact the registry, as an interpreter can be arranged with no charge to you personally for your court appearance.
I can’t attend my court date what do I do?
If you cannot attend your court date you need to contact the court and/or your lawyer straight away. They will tell you what to do and leave a note on your court file.
If you are sick on the day it is likely that you have produce a doctor’s certificate to the court, this doctors certificate MUST say “unfit to attend court” otherwise it may not be accepted by the court.
I missed court what should I do now?
If you have missed your court date, you should contact the registry office immediately to find out what occurred. Typically, when a person is not present in court the following things happen:
- The case is adjourned to another date.
- The magistrate has found you guilty in your absence and imposed a penalty and/or adjourned the matter to another date for sentence.
- A warrant has been issued for your arrest to attend court.
I want to plead guilty, do I really need legal advice?
It is important to always obtain legal advice, this is to ensure that you have been charged with the right offence and that the fact sheet adequately reflects the nature of the offending and in particular the offending charged.
It is important that on any plea of guilty submissions are able to be put to the court that are appropriate, effective and give you the greatest chance of a fair sentence.
In some cases, if you cannot afford a lawyer, you can apply to the Legal Aid Commission to represent you. Legal Aid and a number of community Legal Centres offer free advice sessions to any person without the need to meet certain financial requirements.
Where can I get more Help and Information?