Behaviour and etiquette

Court Etiquette Guide

Attention to the following matters will assist you during your visit to the Supreme Court of Tasmania.

Visitors must comply with any directions given by the presiding judicial officer.

Visitors must obey the instructions of all Court officers and security officers while on Court premises.

Visitors must comply with any order or law that prohibits publication of the proceedings.

Visitors to the Court will be required to comply with the Court’s security arrangements. This may involve passing through a metal detector upon entry. Fewer bags and metal objects assists in faster completion of security screening.

Mobile phones, radio receivers and electronic devices such as computer tablets, laptops, audio or audio-visual recording devices, and pagers must not be used, and be switched “off”, when in any Court room. Lawyers and accredited journalists may be permitted to use these devices in courtrooms.

Cameras and audio-recorders (including those in smartphones) are not permitted to be used in any Court building without specific approval.

Weapons are not permitted in any Court building. Police Officers are authorized to carry their personal weapons in court foyers, and in court if approved by the presiding Judge or in the event of an emergency situation.

Smoking, eating and drinking are not permitted in Court rooms. Smoking is not permitted in Court buildings.

Student groups are to be limited in number so as to leave adequate seating available in Court rooms for parties to the proceedings and for other members of the public.

Visitors should enter and leave Court rooms without undue delay while proceedings are in progress. Standing at the rear of the Court or in doorways is not permitted.

When you enter or leave a courtroom where a Judge is hearing matters it is customary, out of respect, to bow slightly (as if nodding). You should also bow and remain standing when a Judge enters or leaves the courtroom.

If you are a party or a witness in court proceedings, you should address the Judge as “Your Honour”, “Sir” or “Madam”. You should address other parties, their lawyers, witnesses or court staff only by their titles and surnames.

Conversation in Court rooms must be kept to a minimum and, in any event, it must not interfere with the proper conduct of the proceedings.

Some Court proceedings are closed to the public. A “Closed Court” sign will be displayed on the door. Unless you are authorized to be present, you must not enter these Courtrooms and must leave the Courtroom immediately upon being requested by a Court officer to do so.

A room in another building (‘a remote site’) that is connected by means of an audio link or an audio-visual link is part of the Court room while the link is in operation. Accordingly, the same standards of behaviour apply to persons who are present at the remote site as if they were present in the court room.