What to bring with you
Whatever type of court you are attending, you should make sure you have the case number with you. This will help you find where to go when you arrive at the court building. You can find the case number on your hearing letter.
You should bring any papers that you think you may need to bring for the hearing.
You must not take any weapons, glass or liquids other than non-alcoholic drinks or hand sanitiser.
Attending court as a witness
If you are summoned to be a witness, it is important that you attend – you might be arrested and taken to the court by the police if you do not.
Staff from the Witness Service are able to assist you before you attend court and whilst there. You can find out more about the Witness Service on the Citizens Advice website.
Does it matter who supports me in court proceedings?
The outcome of a court case can affect you in many ways. It can affect you emotionally, financially and have an effect on your relationship with your relatives and friends. So the answer has to be yes it does matter who supports you in court proceedings. But, there are other things to bear in mind when you are making your choice.
Regulated and unregulated lawyers
If you use a lawyer it is worthwhile to first check whether they are regulated (see Types of lawyers section for details of regulated lawyers). There is a common misconception that all lawyers are regulated, but this is not the case. If you use a lawyer regulated by an approved regulator of legal services , this means that:
- their regulator sets standards for their training and education which they must meet
- they have to follow a Code of Conduct and requirements set down by their regulator
- you can check that they are on their regulator’s register and if there is any disciplinary action against them
- they must have insurance to cover claims made if anything goes wrong
- you can complain to the Legal Ombudsman about any problems with the service you receive
Unregulated help - McKenzie Friends
You may come across people called McKenzie Friends They provide support with court proceedings. If your budget will not stretch to using a regulated lawyer, support from a family member, friend or volunteer from a charitable organisation offering legal assistance can be very important.
It is worth remembering that McKenzie Friends are not regulated. This means that even when you pay for a legal service from a McKenzie friend, if things go wrong, you will not get the same protections you would if using a regulated lawyer.
See our information on McKenzie Friends to learn what they can and cannot do and how they could help you in court.