Communicating in Court
Our court system is based on common law traditions. Therefore, some of our court intricacies are due to how things have been done historically. Other systems or procedures are due to concerns on efficiency and fairness and justice of the proceedings. Below you will find a general guide to consider when communicating in court :
Counsel must rise to speak
Legal counsel must rise when speaking to other counsel or the Judge. This in part shows respect and allows for greater clarity for the judge; he or she knows exactly who is speaking. As there are often many parties present for a hearing, it could be hard to discern the speaker by only sound, while also trying to take notes. Judge like to know who the « lawyers » are and who is not a lawyer.
Only one counsel may stand at a time to speak
Only one counsel should address the court at a time. This is an extension of the previous rule. It is easier to identify the speaker and whom he represents if he is the only one standing in the courtroom. All parties will be afforded an opportunity to make submissions, but talking over one another will only lead to confusion and frustrate the court process.
All communication in the courtroom passes through the Judge
This is especially important. The Judge is there to decide the case on its merits, and he is the one who needs to hear all the relevant information. Arguments between counsel are counter-productive and further the amount of legal expenses clients bear for no proper purpose.
The court is in session from the moment the judge steps into the courtroom until the moment he exits the courtroom
This means that all rules related to communication and courtroom etiquette must be respected while the Judge is present. The judge becomes the controller of the process; she is the one to convince and she is the one who will manage the proceeding. To do otherwise will cause problems and can harm a party’s credibility, as well as their case.
Rules of communication exist to ensure maximum efficiency of the proceedings and show respect in the courtroom.
Our Ottawa personal injury and accident lawyers will help you navigate through our procedures.
If you or someone you care about was injured in an accident, please contact one of our Ottawa lawyers for a free consultation. We work on a no-fee-until-you-win basis. Call us at 613-315-4878.