The way movies and shows portray courtroom proceedings is simply laughable. A few shows and movies keep such scenes logical and close to reality. However, most present an over-the-top portrayal of the legal system.
So, in this post, our experts, who provide the best law essay help online, will discuss some of the most nonsensical courtroom myths Hollywood directors want you to believe:
1. Cases Instantly Go into Trial
The protagonist or antagonist files a case, and the trial happens within a few days. This is what you may have seen in many movies and shows. They fast forward the proceedings so much, many people start considering the legal process is super easy and rapid.
Unfortunately, that’s not even close to the case. There are over 340,000 pending cases in the UK right now! Every lawsuit has its priority and severity. So, there’s no way the trial for your case will happen only a few days after filing a lawsuit. It can take months or even multiple years for it to happen. In other words, cases don’t get solved overnight.
2. The Overly Dramatic Questioning
To make their screenplay more hard-hitting and impactful, directors/writers add courtroom scenes with intense questioning. The lawyer throws queries at the witnesses directly and dramatically without caring about protocols.
If you do this in real life, you face the consequences, like license suspension. Also, there are a lot of rules you will be following while coming up with questions for witnesses. Most questions asked in movies and shows are so controversial and offensive an actual court would never allow lawyers to ask them.
Moreover, you can’t act aggressively with a witness or scream at them during questioning.
3. Courtroom Brawls and Confrontations are Quite Common
Not every case goes to trial. For instance, if you hire an attorney, they will analyse your case first. Then, if they believe your stance is weaker than the opposition, they will guide you toward an out-of-court settlement. Therefore, most cases in countries like the US and UK will get settled out of court before the first hearing ever takes place.
Also, lawyers and witnesses must behave appropriately and respect the courtroom’s decorum. You can’t confront the other person directly and start a brawl. If such an incident happens, you can go to jail.
4. Surprise Witnesses are Eager to Come out of the Woodworks
In movies, lawyers often introduce surprise witnesses in the courtroom who play a pivotal role in the case’s outcome. This does not happen in real life. You can’t present a witness to the court without any prior notice. Discovery and witness lists are disclosed and closed weeks before the official hearing. So, there’s no way you can involve someone in the legal proceedings as a witness without informing the court several days before the trial.
5. Courtrooms are Jam-Packed with Audience
Courtrooms are not BTS concerts. Usually, they are almost empty, and only people related to the individuals involved in the case or relevant to the case itself will come for trials. There’s no reason for hundreds of people to attend every court proceeding.
Also, the audience stays silent and is not allowed to perform gestures, like clapping, that might interrupt the court proceedings.
6. You Can Interrupt the Proceedings with an “Objection” Whenever You Want
During questioning or the judge’s address, a lawyer can’t just stand up and shout objection without any apparent reason. If you’re objecting to something and the judge allows you to speak, you should first explain why you objected in the first place and what rule is being violated. In addition, the judge will let you speak further only if your explanation is valid.
7. Lawyers Can Be Aggressive
Being able to control anger and remaining calm in explosive situations is a trait every lawyer should have. As we said, lawyers can’t lose their cool during court proceedings. So, avoid imagining your lawyer self as doing any of the following:
- Standing up abruptly to shout “objection”
- Slamming your fist on the desk
- Confronting the judge
Not doing so would mean the judge will consider you super rude, unprofessional, and disobedient. Besides that, you will also have to face several consequences, like getting your license suspended or facing contempt of court charges.
8. You Can Walk Around the Courtroom and Question any Witness Without the Judge’s Permission
The judge controls the courtroom. Lawyers can’t do anything without their permission, nor can they tell them what to do. In one movie where a lawyer tried to convince the judge to allow a “surprise” witness, the latter understandably lost his cool. After that, things didn’t go too well for the lawyer. Why? Because judges can do whatever they want! It’s their court, and lawyers will need their permission for everything during proceedings, including:
- Calling witnesses
- Walking to the witness stand
- Opening or closing a statement
- Questioning a witness
9. You Can Present Evidence Out of Nowhere
Just like witnesses, there can’t be any surprise evidence either. You can’t turn in a piece of information or proof at the last minute. Mostly because the court probably won’t accept it, no matter how pivotal the evidence might be for your case.
After all, the court gives lawyers time for discovery. That’s when you must extract and compile all proofs necessary for a client’s defence. Once the discovery time ends, there’s no room for further evidence introduction.
10. Non-Parents Can File for Child Custody Without any Proper Reason
Only parents can file for child custody. Unlike in movies, non-parents can’t randomly file for it just because they want to. That’s especially true when the child’s parents are active and present. Therefore, other people must have a proper reason for doing so. Otherwise, the court will simply reject their plea. Even grandparents must come up with a solid reason before they can file for child custody.
11. You Can Walk Out of the Courtroom Straightaway After Being Found Not Guilty
You might have seen this many times. A person is found not guilty, and they step down from the stand only to leave the courtroom straightaway while cheered by their loved ones. Yeah, that’s not happening!
You can’t immediately walk out after a judge announces their verdict. The accused person has to go back to prison. They will be processed only after all legal formalities are taken care of.
12. Lawyers Can Represent Family Members in Court
This is the only myth that’s not actually a myth. Even so, hear us out. It is legal for lawyers to defend their family member’s cases in court. There are instances when lawyers have done so successfully and won the case for their relatives. But do we recommend you do that? Absolutely not!
If your family member is on trial for murder, rape, or any other heinous crime, keep your distance from the case and avoid representing them in court. Aside from the risk to your rep based on the case’s outcome, there’s another factor you should consider. And that’s the emotional stress you’d undergo while representing them.
13. Lawyers Can Argue During Questioning
During questioning, a lawyer cannot start talking to the jury simultaneously, as seen in movies. They are just recording the witness’s response and can only cross-examine them if necessary and allowed.
Also, if the lawyer isn’t asking questions when the witness is on the stand, the judge or the opposition lawyer will shut them down immediately.
14. Lawyers Spend Most of the Day in Court
The court is not a lawyer’s office. In reality, lawyers usually sit all day in their offices, analysing the information related to their cases and discussing them with their clients. They have to prepare everything before appearing for a hearing. Hence, that’s where they are found on most days.
A lawyer’s life might not be as exciting as seen on TV but the life of a law student isn’t easy, either. What’s more, if you want to get a job in one of the best law firms in the UK, you should have an excellent academic record. Therefore, it’s the grades that take you forward. However, law students forget that, often rush their work, and end up performing poorly in their coursework. If you’re suffering from a similar situation, you need to get help with law coursework.
Law Essay Writers provides the best and cheapest law assignment help online. We have assisted thousands of students in consistently improving their coursework quality and scoring brilliant grades. So, if you want to improve your performance, place your order today.
Dr Andrea Rodriguez
Dr Andrea is an LLD-qualified law expert working as an academic writer, editor, and researcher. She deals in criminal law and has also served as an attorney in a reputable legal firm in the UK. Apart from being a highly efficient and experienced professional, Andrea is also a great blogger. She wants to educate students about the law’s academic and professional aspects.