Getting seven or eight hours of sleep before going to the court helps you to think clearly.  Even if you have trouble falling asleep, your body is getting the rest it needs and you will feel more alert.

Some people find it hard to eat when they feel nervous or anxious.  To help you be alert and protect your body, eating is very important.

Remember, the court is a formal place and it shows respect to look your best.

Planning how you will get there and arriving on time will help you to feel more confident.

A subpoena is a legal document that orders you to attend court on the date stated.  If there is an emergency reason you cannot attend court, tell the Crown prosecutor’s office and the investigating officer as soon as you can before the court date.

There are many cases at court on the same day and the courtroom and waiting area for your case may not be chosen until the day of court.

In most courthouses, a court officer will search everyone and their belongings when they enter the courthouse.  This ensures that court is a safe place.

In some trials witnesses are not permitted in the courtroom until they are needed to give their testimony.

Bring any medications you would normally use during the day.

It is difficult to know how long you may have to wait for your turn to testify and the food you like may be difficult to find.

  • No hats
  • No chewing gum or eating candies
  • No cell phone or pagers should be on
  • No walkman
  • No talking after the judge enters the room
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Witness Tips – Day of Court

Preparing for court may feel scary and confusing.  These are perfectly normal feelings to have if you are going to testify.  Even professionals who testify often, tell us they are anxious about giving evidence.  Here are some tips on how to help you prepare for the day.

  • Go to bed early the night before court.  

  • Eat breakfast on the morning of court.  

  • Dress comfortably in a neat and tidy manner.  

  • Arrive at least fifteen minutes early.  

  • Bring your subpoena with you to court.  It will tell you where to go when you arrive at the courthouse.  

  • Be respectful and polite to the people who are in the courthouse.

  • Meet the Crown prosecutor and/or police officer in the pre-arranged room or tell the court officer that you have arrived and ask for directions.  

  • Do not bring any weapons to court.  

  • Wait near the courtroom or the waiting area, until your name is called.  

  • Bring a book or other activity to keep you busy while you wait for your turn.

  • Prepare for any medical needs you may have.  

  • Pack a snack or lunch.  

  • Courtroom Rules.  There are some special rules people must follow.  

Note:  Many of the Canadian courts have a Victim/Witness Assistance Program.  You can check our Provincial and Territorial Links for services available in your province/territory or call a courthouse in your area.

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