A free public service provided by the Knoxville Bar Association
Ready to Call Now? (865) 522-7501

What to Expect When You Need to Appear in Court

When you’ve never been to court before, making an appearance can seem daunting. It’s a lot less intimidating, though, when you have a clear idea of what to expect. Read on to get the information you need to feel confident and prepared on your first day in court.

Dress Code

All individuals must dress appropriately for court hearings.  Anything considered distracting or disruptive to the judicial process is considered inappropriate.  The judges often enforce a dress code. A good rule of thumb is to dress as if you were interviewing for a job as an office administrator.  Women should wear closed-toe shoes, and a conservative dress or a skirt/blouse or dress pants/blouse combo. A sweater is appropriate as sometimes courtrooms are chilly. Men should wear dress shoes with socks, long pants with a belt, and a collared shirt with a tie. Bring a jacket in case you get cold, but it is not necessary to wear it at all times.

Do not wear anything with rips or tears, skirts or dresses that come up higher than a couple of inches above the knees, shorts, halter tops, tank tops, or anything that reveals the chest or is transparent. Avoid hats and non-prescription dark glasses as well. 

Specific rules about each court’s dress code can be found online, and above all you should adhere to any guidance your lawyer provides as to appropriate attire.

Inclement Weather

Officials know that inclement weather may interfere with people’s ability to get to court. Different courts follow different inclement weather policies. For example:

US District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee: Info about closures and delays will be available on the court’s website and answering machine.

US Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Tennessee: Info about closures and delays will be available on the court’s website and answering machine.

Tennessee Supreme Court: Info about closures and delays will be available on the court’s website.

Knox County Criminal Court: If Knox County schools are closed, court will close the first day. Each day after will be decided by the judge. The court will not open late if the schools open late. Info about closures and delays will be announced on local radio and television.

If the court you’re going to is not included in this sample, you can find it here.

Behavior

It is important to be on your best behavior in court, no matter what type of issue you are facing. Although you may feel emotional, you must keep yourself in check and behave respectfully.
Acting out can result in criminal charges.

Do not speak out of turn, but if you are called upon to speak, do so clearly and loudly enough for everyone to hear. You must refer to the judge as “Your Honor.” Your attorney can give you more information about how to behave in court and what to expect. If you don’t have a lawyer yet, we can help. Learn more about our Referral Service here.

The following two tabs change content below.

Lawyer Referral & Information Service

The Knoxville Bar Association’s “Find a Lawyer” program has been a trusted source for finding an attorney for over 60 years. Don’t just find a lawyer. Find the right lawyer.

Latest posts by Lawyer Referral & Information Service (see all)

%d bloggers like this: