Preparing for an appearance
What is a 'court appearance'?
A 'court appearance' is another way of saying coming before the Court. Cases and parties come before the Land and Environment Court in a variety of ways. For example, if you are involved in a residential development dispute, you will first come before a registrar of the Court for a directions hearing.
Other appearances before the Court can include a hearing before a judge or commissioner, a mediation, a conciliation conference, a sentencing hearing or the delivery of a judgment.
In cases before the Land and Environment Court, you can represent yourself or be legally represented at any appearance. In some cases you can be represented by an agent. Find out more about representing yourself in court and about having someone else represent you. Information is also available on what to expect at a hearing before the Court.
Court opening times
The Registry office on level 4 is open between 8.30 am and 4.30 pm Monday to Friday. Telephone enquires can be made between 8.30 am and 5.00 pm.
The following facilities are available at the registry:
- Meeting rooms (please call ahead to book)
- A public access computer terminal with internet
- A photocopier (there is a charge for copies)
- Disabled toilet
The registrars of the Local Court are agents for the registrar of the Land and Environment Court for the purposes of filing documents (including new applications) and giving a receipt for payment of filing fees. See the locations of all NSW Local Court courthouses.
How to find the time and place of your hearing
When you arrive at court you need to check in which courtroom your case will be heard.
Printed court lists will be displayed in the foyer, on level 4 and near the courtrooms on levels 1, 3, 5, 10, 11, 12, 13. The Court list will show the name of the case and the courtroom. If you cannot find your case, go to the Court’s registry office on level 4 and ask for assistance.
Electronic court lists
Daily Court list information is published online between 3pm - 4pm (Monday - Friday). If you have any questions about the information contained on the daily Court list, you should contact the Registry's Listing Office.
Please note that late changes to the list may be made after publishing. You should contact the Registry’s Listing Office if you wish to confirm or clarify a listing arrangement.
What to wear
Court proceedings are serious and people attending court are expected to dress appropriately. You do not have to wear a suit or tie, just aim to be neat and tidy. You may be at the Court for several hours, so wear clothes that will be comfortable.
Barristers are expected to wear robes but not wigs in the following types of proceedings heard by a Judge:
- All proceedings in Class 4, Class 5, Class 6, Class 7 and Class 8.
- Barristers are expected to wear robes but not wigs in proceedings in Class 8 heard by a Commissioner for Mining.
- However, robing is not required before the List Judge or at directions hearings, call-overs, mentions and motions relating to procedural matters.
Robes but not wigs should be worn for all ceremonial sittings of the Court.
Robing is not required before the List Judge or at directions hearings, call-overs, mentions and motions relating to procedural matters. See the Court Attire (PDF , 109.7 KB) policy.
Contact a court officer
Court officers are officials who assist in court. They are easy to identify as they will usually be going in and out of the courtroom calling names and checking who is there. You should let the court officer know that you have arrived at court.
The court officer will tell you where to wait, usually inside the courtroom or just outside the courtroom.They will ask you some questions about your name and your case so they can let the judge, commissioner or registrar know you are here.
Be sure to tell the court officer if you are leaving the area at any time so your case is not heard without you. If a lawyer is representing you, find your lawyer and work out where to wait until your case is called.
How to address Judges, Commissioners and Registrars
You should address judges as "your honour", commissioners as “commissioner” and registrars as “registrar”.
How to behave in court
Courts operate with some formalities such as bowing and standing to speak. You will see that many people bow when they enter and leave the courtroom. This is to show respect to the Court.
In court you should:
- turn off your mobile phone
- not eat or drink
- sit quietly
- not interrupt proceedings
- not take photographs
- not make audio recordings of proceedings
- not speak to or approach any member of the jury.
You may want to SMS or tweet, but if a judicial officer thinks you are doing something illegal, such as recording or photographing, you could be asked to leave court or be arrested. It is an offence to record or photograph proceedings without permission of the Court.
When your case is called, the judge, commissioner or registrar will ask you to come to the table at the front of the room. This is called the bar table. In the Land and Environment Court, parties will usually sit at the bar table rather than stand which is the usual practice in many other courts. However, when addressing judges of the Court, persons should stand while speaking. It is not necessary to stand when speaking to a commissioner or registrar.