Advice to Court Users Observing Court Proceedings
To uphold the independence, impartiality and integrity of the Judiciary, all court users observing court proceedings have to abide by the following rules which seek to maintain the solemnity of court proceedings, and ensure the safe, fair and orderly operation of the court.
- Maintain good order and be quiet at all times;
- Do not engage in disruptive conduct such as shouting, clapping, chanting of slogans or displaying of placards, etc.;
- Do not cause any danger, damage, disruption or disorderNote 1;
- Do not disturb, harass or intimidate the parties, their legal representatives, the jurors, witnesses, or other court users such as yelling, using abusive language, causing obstructions or stalking, etc.;
- Dress neatly and appropriately in a manner commensurate with the dignity of the court;
- Do not take any photograph, make any video or audio recording, or make any portrait of any person, being a judge of the court or a juror or a witness in or a party to any proceeding before the courtNote 2;
- Do not engage in any activities not related to court business or observation of court proceedings, such as eating, drinking, reading newspaper or magazines, etc.;
- Do not use mobile phones or other mobile communication devices for verbal communicationsNote 3;
- For court proceedings involving jury, completely switch off all mobile phones and any other devices with photo-taking or video-recording capability. Such devices must also be put inside bags or pocketsNote 4; and
- Follow the instructions of the Judiciary staff and security personnel.
In addition, the presiding Judge or Judicial Officer at a hearing has the power to give specific directions on case management and related matters as and when required for ensuring due administration of justice. Such directions may be related to the court users’ attire, behaviour and the objects that they display, etc.
Failure to comply with the above rules and/or directions of the Judges or Judicial Officers, Judiciary staff and security personnel may result in denial of entry into, removal from and/or refusal of re-entry into courtrooms or court premises. Any violation of law, the above rules or any applicable directions may be reported to the Police or other appropriate authorities. They may also amount to a contempt of court.
Note 1 Please see House Rules for the Maintenance of Order and Security on Court Premises for details
Note 2 Please refer to pre-hearing announcement and Section 7 of the Summary Offences Ordinance, Cap. 228 for details
Note 3 Please see Practice Direction - 32 for details
Note 4 Please see Practice Direction - 35 for details