Clients in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench may not sit at the counsel table with the lawyers and must sit in the audience, known as the gallery. All persons in the gallery must be respectful and quiet during the proceedings. Once your matter is called and we speak to the Justice, the time for discussion and negotiation is over. We will apply our expertise and experience to making the best submissions we can for your position to the Justice but must ultimately be respectful of the Justice and follow their direction. We will speak with you in the hallway afterwards.
Anyone attending in the gallery in the Courtroom must always remember that there are certain rules of behaviour. No cellphones, cameras, or recording devices are permitted. No food or beverages are permitted – including coffee, water, and gum. No hats are permitted, and guests should wear proper clothing appropriate for a professional job interview. Visitors should not speak or whisper in the gallery. The Courtrooms are designed acoustically so that all the sound filters toward the Justice. Justices have frequently remarked that they can hear everything that is discussed in the gallery. Not only might this be embarrassing, but it is highly distracting to the Justice who is trying to focus on the case in front of them as well as to the lawyers who are trying to present their case.
Also remember that most Courtrooms will have live microphones recording all of the sounds in the Courtroom. This means that your embarrassing conversation before the Justice entered the Courtroom might be listened to by a transcriptionist or another Justice in the future when they pull the recordings. All visitors should stand when a Justice enters or leaves the Courtroom, or otherwise stands up. You will see that the lawyers bow frequently to the Justices, especially when entering or exiting the Courtroom but this is not expected of non-lawyers.