Courtroom etiquette

Prohibited in the Courtrooms:
  • Weapons of any sort.
  • Electronic equipment (unless approved by the court).
  • Inappropriate attire, such as t-shirts with swear words, depicting violence or sexual acts, promoting drug or alcohol use; muscle shirts; tank tops; halter tops; shorts; cut-off jeans; baggy pants that fall below the hips; micro-mini skirts; pants with holes; hats (except those worn for religious purposes.)
  • Food, beverages, chewing gum, tobacco.
  • Newspapers.
  • Children making noise.
Silence:
  • Court proceedings must be electronically recorded. Therefore, silence is a necessity, unless you are a party to the proceeding that is in progress. Disruptive behavior such as talking, laughing, shouting or creating other loud disturbances will not be tolerated. The security staff may remove offenders from the building and the judges may hold violators in contempt of court. Mild-toned conversations may be conducted in the lobbies, hallways and conference rooms. We strongly discourage bringing young children to court.
Cell Phones and Pagers:
  • Cell phones and pagers must be placed in the silent mode, unless otherwise instructed at entry to the courthouse. Use of cell phones and pagers is not allowed in the courtrooms or hearing rooms. Use of cell phones and pagers in other areas of the courthouse is permitted, however users should exercise discretion in their conversations being held in a public environment.
Addressing the Court:
  • Address the judge as "Your Honor" or "Judge." Address the referee as Mr. or Ms.
  • Stand when addressing the court. Please advise the judge or hearing official if you have a disability that would make this difficult.
  • Only one person at a time may speak when addressing the court, witnesses, etc. during a court proceeding. This ensures greater accuracy in making a record by audio and video recording equipment.
  • Speak clearly and loudly. The large courtrooms absorb sound, making it difficult to hear mumbling and soft spoken voices. Speaking clearly and loudly ensures the judge and the court recorder/video are hearing what is being said.
  • Address the court either from a counsel table or from a podium. These areas are equipped with microphones. Stepping away from these areas reduces the accuracy of the record.
Respect:
  • Be respectful of the judge or hearing official, the court staff, attorneys and litigants. Maintain a respectful attitude at all times in the court building and in the courtrooms.
References:
  • Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC)
  • Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct - Canon 3A2