Etiquette for Criminal Matters for Law Students (1:XII)
A. Courtroom etiquette for law students
When attending court for a matter, the student should check the court lists to confirm which courtroom the matter is to be heard in. If the court is not sitting at the time, the student should attempt to seek out the Crown Counsel who has conduct of the matter, and identify him/herself.
In order to get the client’s matter called, the student should indicate to Crown Counsel or the Crown assistant that both client and counsel are present and ready to proceed. Crown Counsel will proceed with the shortest matters first; priority will also be given to matters for which the accused and his/her counsel are present. Do not interrupt Crown Counsel when they are addressing a matter.
When the judge enters or exits the court, the student should rise and bow to the judge.
If the court is sitting, the student should enter the courtroom, bow to the judge at the door and/or the bar of the court, and be seated at the chairs located beyond the bar. The client should sit in the gallery behind the bar.
When the matter is called, the student should rise and approach the counsel’s table. The student should stand on the other side of the podium from the Crown. The rule of thumb is that Crown is seated next to the witness box while defence is seated furthest away.
The student should invite the client to come forward and address the court in a loud, clear voice, keeping in mind that the microphones in most courtrooms are only for recording and not for amplification purposes. The student should introduce himself or herself in the following manner:
“Your Honour, my name is <Full Name><Spell Out Last Name>, first initial <First Initial>. I am a law student with the Law Students’ Legal Advice Program, and with leave of the Court, representing Mr./Ms. __________________ who is here in the court today.” <Have client stand up and point towards him/her>
- NOTE: Judges are addressed as “Your Honour” in court while JPs are addressed as “Your Worship.”
If there is a supervising lawyer present, they must be introduced as well at this time. The student should then remind the court what is to occur with the file (e.g. the matter is set for an arraignment hearing or disposition or trial, etc.).
Upon completion of the student’s appearance, on exiting the courtroom the student should turn and bow to the judge at the bar of the court and/or the door.
1. Interacting with Crown
When interacting with the Crown (or anyone else for that matter), students should always be pleasant and polite. They are people a student will continue to work with for many years. There are times when students need to be more assertive but this should be done in a tactful way. Students should always respect the Crown, even when pointing out errors. Clinicians should be firm, but polite.
2. Courtroom demeanour and etiquette
- Review Section III "Etiquette" for general recommendations on courtroom etiquette.
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