Appearing in Court as an Accused Person

As the accused in a criminal case, you will be required to attend court if you have been officially charged and your case goes to court. At this stage in the process, you are called the defendant.

When you arrive at the courthouse, report to the courtroom indicated in your appearance notice, promise to appear or summons and wait until your case is called. Court lists posted in the courthouse can also tell you what courtroom to appear in. You can also find your courtroom at: Court Services Online.

Pre-Trial Appearances

You may have several court appearances, called pre-trial appearances or interim hearings, before you go to trial. If you tell the judge (plead) that you are guilty of committing the crime, your case will not need to proceed to trial and you may be given a sentence. For more information, see Court Appearances Before the Trial (How the Criminal Justice System Works).

Preparing for Court

Understanding the rules of behaviour and what might happen during the trial or other court appearances will help you prepare for court. The following are some helpful hints and information.

  • Keep in touch with your lawyer. Make sure they have your current phone number and address.
  • Always go to court on the right date and time. Give yourself plenty of time when you arrive to find the courtroom.  
  • If you think you cannot attend court at the specified time, you must tell your lawyer right away.  
  • If you do not show up for your court case without a good reason, an arrest warrant will be issued. You may be charged for failing to appear.
  • Never leave the court until you are told to do so. If you do leave, it could be an offence.
  • Do not bring any weapons to court.
  • Be respectful and polite to people in the courthouse.
  • Be sure to follow the courtroom rules.
  • Find the courtroom ahead of time. You can find your courtroom at Court Services Online.
  • Find the courthouse ahead of time. You can find the location of the courthouse on the the Ministry of Attorney General website. For a map of British Columbia  courts, please visit Provincial Court of B.C.

If, during the trial, you do not understand any part of the process, ask your lawyer or the judge. Your lawyer or the judge will try to help you. Do not be afraid to ask questions.   

Visit Preparing for Court (How the Criminal Justice System Works) for more information.

More Information

For more information about appearing in court and what to expect, please visit: