Going to court can be stressful and confusing, particularly if you are going for the first time. To make attendance in court less stressful, it helps to take the time to prepare and organise your matter before your first court event.

The date, time & location of your first court date is set out in your Court Attendance Notice (CAN). If you are unsure of the particulars of your court date, you can contact the relevant registry, or visit the court website.

At the first court date also known as ‘a mention’ you are required to advise the court as to whether you intend to plead guilty or not guilty. In certain circumstances, where you are unable to attend court on the specified day, you may be able to have your matter adjourned to a later date. You can seek an adjournment by contacting the relevant Court’s Registry.

If you choose to enter a guilty plea, it may be possible for your matter to be dealt with on the same day. Should you advise that court that you intend to plead not guilty, the court officer will adjourn the matter which gives the parties time to discuss and negotiate the contentious points of the case before the matter proceeds.

If you have retained the services of a lawyer, they will attend the mention with you. A lawyer can also advise you in respect of the particulars of your offence, and help you make the decision of whether to plead guilty or not guilty to an offence.