Court Rules & Expectations

The guidelines below will prepare you for your visit to court.

Courtroom Etiquette

Before you enter any courtroom, please follow these guidelines:

  • Turn off all cellphones, pagers or electronic devices. Use of cameras or other recording devices is prohibited without approval of the judge or magistrate.
  • Throw away gum, food, and drinks before you enter the courtroom.
  • Remove your hat.
  • Keep your feet off of furniture, benches and rails.
  • Enter and leave the courtroom quietly, so you do not disturb court proceedings or others.
  • Stand when the judge or magistrate enters or leaves the courtroom.
  • Stand, make eye contact, and speak up when you address the judge or magistrate.
  • Address the judge or magistrate as "Your Honor."
  • Address others as "Mr." or "Ms." or ma'am or sir.
  • Avoid rude behaviors like yelling, cursing, or interrupting someone while they are speaking.
  • Speak clearly and slowly.
  • Your words are being recorded as part of the case record. If you mumble, speak quickly, softly, or answer only by moving your head, the record may not be accurate.
  • Follow posted instructions.
  • Listen carefully and follow directions provided by the judge, bailiff, or marshal.

Courtroom Attire

It is important to be clean and dress appropriately to show respect for the court and others in the courtroom. If you are dressed improperly, missing articles of clothing or wearing clothing that is not clean, the court may ask you to leave. If this happens, you will need to reschedule your hearing for a future date.

Smoking Guidelines

The Seattle Municipal Court is a non-smoking building. This includes all offices, lunchrooms, conference rooms, restrooms, lobbies, and stairwells. Smoking is prohibited on the 12th floor terrace. In accordance with Washington State law, smoking is not permitted within 25 feet of all building entrances.

Smoking areas have been designated at both the north and south end of the plaza in front of the courthouse.