Court Process and Etiquette

Court Process and Etiquette

In this guide, you'll find important terms and tips for a court appearance.


Legal Terminology

  • Plaintiff: the person who starts the civil case by filing a complaint. 
  • Defendant: in civil cases, it is the person against whom the case is being brought.  
  • Pro Se Litigant: a person representing themselves without an attorney. 
  • Complaint: the first document given by the plaintiff to the court and the other side that starts a court case 
  • Answer: A written statement by the defendant responding to the complaint. This will contain any defenses (counter-arguments) or objections (disagreements with the complaint) to the other side’s case.  

Motion: a request made to the court seeking an order or a decision on a certain aspect of the case.


What Should I Wear and Not Wear To Court?

You should come to court dressed appropriately. Consider wearing a suit, or at least a button-up shirt and dress pants. Other options for what to wear include a dress, or dress pants with a conservative top.

You should avoid wearing hats, flip flops, baggy clothing, clothing with inappropriate language or images, ripped jeans, tube tops or crop tops. 


General Tips For Court

How Do I Address The Judge? 

  • You need to stand when the judge enters and leaves the courtroom.  
  • When you are speaking to the judge, you need to stand. Only speak directly to the judge. Do not speak to the opposing party while in court unless the judge allows it.  
  • Always address the judge as “Your Honor.” 

 

What Else Should I Know? 

  • You need to be on time for your hearing. Timeliness is very important. 
  • The court staff can answer any additional questions you may have about the process or how to fill out forms. They cannot provide legal advice.  
  • When you are in the courtroom, listen for your name to be called. When it is, you should say that you are present. 

 

Where Can I Access the Internet? 

  • The following types of places have WIFI for free or that customers can use: Coffee Shops like Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks or Panera, McDonalds. 
  • Libraries also have computers and printers that can be used to view and print documents.

List of Libraries

New Bedford Public Libraries:

Main Branch 

613 Pleasant Street

New Bedford, MA 02740

 

Wilks Branch

1911 Acushnet Avenue

New Bedford, MA 02746

 

Casa Da Saudade Branch

58 Crapo Street

New Bedford, MA 02740

 

Lawler Branch

745 Rockdale Avenue

New Bedford, MA 02740

 

Howland-Green Branch

3 Rodney French Blvd.

New Bedford, MA 02744 

(508) 991-6212

 

Boston Public Libraries:

Adams Street

690 Adams Street

Dorchester, MA 02122

 

Brighton

40 Academy Hill Road

Brighton, MA 02135

 

Charlestown

179 Main Street

Charlestown, MA 02129

 

Chinatown

2 Boylston Street

Boston, MA 02116

 

Codman Square

690 Washington Street

Dorchester, MA 02124

 

Connolly

433 Centre Street

Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

 

Dudley

149 Dudley Street

Roxbury, MA 02119

 

East Boston

365 Bremen Street

East Boston, MA 02128

 

Egleston Square

2044 Columbus Avenue

Roxbury, MA 02119

 

Faneuil

419 Faneuil Street

Brighton, MA 02135

 

Fields Corner

1520 Dorchester Avenue

Dorchester, MA 02122

 

Grove Hall

41 Geneva Avenue

Dorchester, MA 02121

 

Honah-Allston

300 North Harvard Street

Allston, MA 02134

 

Hyde Park

35 Harvard Avenue

Hyde Park, MA 02136

 

Jamaica Plain

30 South Street

Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

 

Lower Mills

27 Richmond Street

Dorchester, MA 02124

 

Mattapan

1350 Blue Hill Avenue

Mattapan, MA 02126

 

North End

25 Parmenter Street

Boston, MA 02113

 

Parker Hill

1479 Tremont Street

Roxbury, MA 02120

 

Roslindale

4246 Washington Street

Roslindale, MA 02131

 

South Boston

646 East Broadway

South Boston, MA 02127

 

South End

685 Tremont Street

Boston, MA 02118

 

Uphams Corner

500 Columbia Road

Dorchester, MA 02125

 

West End

151 Cambridge Street

Boston, MA 02114

 

West Roxbury

1961 Centre Street

West Roxbury, MA 02132