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The Do’s & The Don’ts – Court Etiquettes Edition

A court of law is not just any institution. It is one of the apex bodies of a country, responsible for upholding the rights of its citizens and ensuring that justice is served. TV Shows and movies have led us to believe that a courtroom is basically drama central, where quips are made like in Franklin & Bash or Suits or Boston Legal, or stunts are pulled with fake heart attacks or dramatic monologues are uttered like the famous Bollywood dialogue “Taariq pe taariq” or the witnesses and the judge and the jury and even the press and the media are bribed, all together in one big coup or justice is delivered at the last minute due to appearance of the key witness who up until now was missing or being chased by the bad guys.

In reality, a court is a place where serious work takes place. There is no room for drama. The judge and the jury do not entertain such nonsensical behavior and shenanigans. The case at hand is discussed to the point and attempts are made to conduct a fair trial and deliver a just verdict based on all the facts at hand and according to the law.

Whether you are going to the court as a witness, or defendant, or a student of law or an accused, you need to follow the proper code with respect to your appearance. It could be a make a break for your case, especially if you are an accused trying to get the verdict in your favor. Just remember these simple tips while dressing for court and you will be fine.

1. Dress respectfully.

    • Your appearance should reflect how serious you are about this situation.
    • Anything modest and decent will do.
    • Need not be new but whatever you pick should fit you well and be clean.
    • Do not dress to distract.
    • Pick simple and neutral hues in pastels like blue, beige, white, and cream.

2. Do not imitate.

  • If you are not a lawyer do not try to look like one.
  • This is not a costume party.
  • Wear normal civilian attire.

Picture Credit

Picture Credit

3. A couple of other Do’s and Don’ts:

Do’s Don’ts
Religious caps and hats are allowed in the court of law Sporting a hat or a cap without any religious affinities, and only as a style accessory is not permitted
Ditch the contacts and go for glasses. Makes you look more mature and serious.

You can wear sunglasses only incase of medical conditions.

Avoid sunglasses or dark shades in the courtroom.
  Avoid any kind of blingy jewelry. You do not want to draw unnecessary attention to yourself.
Guys with long hair should either get a haircut before going to court or learn to tie them properly. The court does not look at loose hair positively.
Bathe before you step in to court. (I did not think this to be necessary tip but a lot of guys are hell bent in proving otherwise*)
Go for a long sleeve shirt. Do not wear crumpled clothes. Make sure they are well ironed and crisp.
Ties will add a nice touch to your look. Do not pick a tie with loud prints or gaudy colors.
Avoid Jeans and opt for trousers. Your pants should not be too low or too skinny.
In winter, you can add a sport coat or a sweater or a cardigan to your ensemble. The sweater should not be bright or holiday themes. When in doubt avoid prints and patterns and go for solid instead.
Complete your look with a pair of loafers or dress shoes. Make sure they are clean and polished. Do not wear sandals or flip flops to court.
If you are inked, then cover your tattoos. Do not attract attention to your tattoos or piercings.

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4. If you still have some doubts then contact your lawyer.

5. If you do not have a lawyer then you can visit the court once before your trial and do some field research yourself.

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