About Court Procedures
Court procedures are highly structured and often confusing to people the first time they interact with the courts. These situations result from the courts' need to follow laws precisely and to provide complete information to all parties. Here are some important principles to keep in mind:
- Everyone gets the same information: That means if one side in a case gives information to the judge, it must be submitted in the form of a motion, and the other side must be given a copy.
- Court dates are serious matters: If you have received a subpoena or a summons to appear in court, you need to make every effort to be there. If you do not appear, you may be subject to arrest. If you know you cannot be there, contact your attorney or the assistant in the division in which you are to appear. In some situations, they may be able to reschedule your appearance.
- You may not speak privately or send mail privately to the judge: See the first item, above.
- Resources are available to help you: See the information on the Court Resources page. Cases generally follow a standard course of events, depending on the type of case. Click on the links for more information on:
Other case types are more variable. Check the Court Resources page or an attorney for more information.