Basic Tips on Preparing for Your Court Date – PRO SE (not represented by an attorney)
This information mentioned below will vary from case to case. Being nervous to go to court is
natural, it’s the courthouse after all (very intimating, big and cold) and it does not even matter if you
are there by agreement with the other person, it is still nerve-wrecking.
- If you can sit on a few hearings it would help you see how the system works. Pay special
attention to what the judges ask and to the way the parties answer.
- Read all your court papers carefully.
- Highly recommended: purchase a pretty big binder, one that will fit all your documents and
then some. Also purchase some binder separators and organize all your documents. Doing
this will help you
1. look more presentable
2. Be extremely organized
3. you will find it easier to locate documents if asked for them.
- Educate yourself on the laws that pertain to your case. Contact your local library or court to
see what resources they have available to the public. Be careful with research done online, be
sure it is law applicable to your jurisdiction (County, State) and that it is from a reliable
DAY OF COURT
- Remain calm.
- Be on time. Expect that there will be traffic so leave your house on time. Also expect that you
will have to go through security, therefore it’s better to get there an hour earlier vs. 10
minutes before your hearing and are still taking off your shoes at security.
- Follow court rules regarding cell phones, food, drinks, weapons, etc.
- Go to court dressed appropriately, you are your own representative so dress like one.
- See the clerk to verify which room you will be in.
- Wait patiently to be called.
- When in the courtroom, speak when spoken to and be careful with what you say and the tone
and body language you use.
- If you don’t understand the question, don’t assume and ask them to reiterate the question.
- Speak clearly and loud enough to be heard, keep hands away from face and mouth.
- Remain respectful at all times to the other side and judge.
- If you bring someone for support, please ask them to remain respectful and quiet.
In general, be careful what you say or do out of the courtroom. We live in a very public world where
anyone can watch your every move.
This information is basic information and should not be construed as legal advice – should you need
legal advice or feel like you need legal representation please contact a licensed attorney.