Preparing for Court

To feel more comfortable on the day you attend, you may want to visit the courthouse in advance.

Here are some helpful tips to help you prepare for court.

  • Wear clothes that are clean, neat, tidy, respectful and comfortable. 
  • Most courtrooms post signs listing rules you must observe. Typical rules include no food or drinks, no hats, no gum chewing and no talking.
  • Most courthouses do not have a play area for children. Consider child care options before the court date.
  • Give yourself enough time to get to court on time. It is a good idea to find the courthouse ahead of time.
  • If you were requested to attend court, you could be charged with a criminal offence if you do not attend on the required date and time.
  • Stay in the courtroom until you are told you can leave. In some cases, it may be considered an offence to leave without consent.
  • Although it may not be required, plan to be at the court the entire day.

For Victims or Witnesses

  • If you are being threatened by someone because you are going to court, tell a police officer immediately.
  • Talk to someone – a friend, family member or health care professional -- about what you are feeling about appearing in court.
  • You can also get support from a victim service worker.
  • Think about bringing someone to support you while you are in court.
  • If you have problems getting transportation to the court, tell Crown counsel.
  • Visit the courtroom before the preliminary hearing or trial.
  • If you are afraid to give your testimony in front of the accused, talk to Crown counsel or a victim service worker

An important note for witnesses: If you feel any evidence you provide at the trial may make you look guilty of a crime, talk to a lawyer before you give your testimony.