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Your Day in Court

You need to appear in person in court on the day of the trial. The only exception is if a judge has decided to make a decision based on written material only. Both parties must consent to the case being decided on written material only.

A case cannot be adjourned, even if the parties agree, without the permission of the court. In some circumstances the party that causes or seeks an adjournment can be required to pay the costs incurred because of the delay.

If the party making the claim does not appear the case will be dismissed. If the party defending the case does not appear the other party can make their case to the judge. The judge can decide if they have proved their case without hearing from the defendant.

Privacy

Court hearings are open to the public. It is a principle of the Canadian justice system that people can see and hear what happens in court. Although people can be in the courtroom, no one in the courtroom is allowed to record anything or use phones or computers to send text messages or tweets to people outside the court while court is going on. The only exception to this is for members of the media, who are allowed to for the purposes of informing their readers or viewers.

How to Act in Court

  • arrive early – you will need time to go through security and find the right courtroom
  • you may be searched for security purposes and there may be a metal detector
  • do not bring things like knives that may be considered weapons
  • let the court clerk know you are there
  • be quiet
  • do not eat, drink or chew gum
  • remove your hat, unless you wear it for religious reasons
  • turn off cell phones and all electronic devices
  • don’t take pictures
  • when the judge arrives the clerk will announce it and tell everyone to stand while the judge enters
  • if you are in Provincial Court, call the judge “Your Honour”
  • If you are in the Court of Queen’s Bench, call the judge “My Lord” or “My Lady”
  • stand up if you are talking to the judge and speak loudly enough to be heard clearly
  • Do not talk to other people in the courtroom while the judge is in the courtroom
  • do not interrupt the other party, a lawyer or the judge
  • do not argue with the judge
  • do not use swear words or slang

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About PLEA

PLEA gratefully acknowledges our primary core funder the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan for their continuing and generous support of our organization.