Why Being Disrespectful in a Court of Law Could Cost You

Australian society is managed by the rule of law. Everybody knows that they need to conform with various items of legislation, and that if they don't, consequences may ensue. If you have fallen foul of some of these laws and been accused of a crime, you may not be happy about it. Nevertheless, you realise that you need to go through a formal procedure. You may have to go into a courtroom and in front of a judge or magistrate while the case is heard. However, even though your temper may be running hot in such a situation, did you know that you can make things significantly worse if you exhibit any disrespectful behaviour? What has changed recently in this regard?

What You Should Do

If you've never been into a courtroom before, you will probably have seen such a situation depicted on the television. As such, you will know that it is customary for all parties to stand up whenever the judge or magistrate enters the room. You should also know that it's important to be respectful whenever answering any questions they may direct to you.

What Not to Do

As this can be a highly charged atmosphere and as you, the defendant, may be annoyed that you're actually there, you may be tempted to move away from this type of behaviour. Some people may refuse to stand up when the magistrate enters the room, for example. In the past, this may have been viewed as disrespectful and may have ruffled the feathers of the presiding judge, but now this type of behaviour has been covered by legislation, which comes with its own repercussions.

What the New Law Says

A bill was introduced and passed into law that determines whether or not exhibited behaviour during official proceedings is disrespectful to a presiding judge, magistrate or the court itself. If found guilty, a significant fine can be handed down and in some circumstances, a short spell in prison. The wording of the bill states that disrespectful behaviour will be against "established court practice and convention," which leaves it open to a fairly wide interpretation.

How to Comply

So, the moral is clear here. Always respect the body of the court, and if you're not happy with anything, allow your legal representative to speak or even to appeal the verdict. Don't make matters a lot worse by falling foul of this new legislation.