Mississippi Courthouse Preparation

Preparing for Court

Our Legal Resources page is for people who are handling their legal problems without a lawyer.  This website does not give legal advice and it is not a substitute for having a lawyer.

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What is difference between a CIVIL case and a CRIMINAL case?

The Mississippi Bar provides some information for the public about the differences in civil and criminal cases.  Click the button to find out more info.


Overview of Mississippi Evidence Rules

This overview of the Rules of Evidence will help you prepare for your hearing and understand the rules of court.  





Court Tips

There are a few basic rules to remember when going to court:

  • Be on time. Plan to spend extra time finding a parking spot and going through security.

  • Dress appropriately (as if you had a job interview). Don't wear sleeveless or low-cut tops, flip flops, hats, shorts, or jeans. Look respectful and professional. Borrow something if you can and don't have anything to wear.

  • Do not bring anyone under 18 into the courtroom. If you have children, do your best to find childcare on the day of your hearing.

  • Be prepared to spend all day in court. (There may be hearings before yours.) Plan your childcare accordingly.

  • Do not chew gum in court.

  • Turn off your cell phone before entering the courtroom or leave it in the car.

  • Speak respectfully to the judge and call him/her, "Your Honor."

  • Do not engage in arguments or answer back to the other side in court. If something is said that you disagree with, say, "Your Honor, may I respond?" Then speak directly to the judge. You normally have the opportunity to tell your story directly to the judge.

  • Never talk over the judge or the other attorney or party. Remember, the court reporter has to type every word that is said. You will have a chance to respond once the question is fully asked.

  • Be sure to answer the question that you are asked. Resist the urge to explain the "back story" unless it directly relates to the question asked or to a point that is necessary for your case. If you give too many details that are unimportant, you risk having the important facts covered up by all of the unnecessary information.

  • Try to remain calm. Take deep breaths if you feel yourself getting tense. Never lose your temper in the courtroom.

  • Have your witnesses there and ready.

  • Have your documents there and ready.

  • If you have subpoenaed witnesses or documents and they are not in court, you should inform the judge.

  • If the other side comes to court with a lawyer and you do not have a lawyer, you can ask the judge for a "continuance" so you can look for a lawyer.

  • Always tell the truth.

  • If you don't understand a question, just say so. Never make up an answer.

  • Remember that you know your story better than anyone - you are the expert. Don't let the other side or the judge or a lawyer confuse you.

  • It may help to have a short statement prepared that outlines what you want and why you want it. You can refer back to this statement if you "freeze up" or "get flustered".

  • You may want to practice what to say before you get to court.

Self Representation Resources


Legal terms

 The Mississippi Bar has organized a list of legal terms and their definitions.  This list might help you in understanding legal procedures or documents.

Legal Terms Procedures

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Mississippi court rules

 Since you will be held to the same standard as attorneys when you represent yourself in court, you may want to review  the Rules of Court.

Mississippi Rules of Court

Mississippi Legal System Rules

mississippi code annotated

 The laws enacted by the Mississippi Legislature are found in the Mississippi Code.

  Mississippi Supreme Court

  Mississippi Legislature

Libraries in mississippi

 Your local library has many resources, including computers, to help you prepare for court.

Library Directory

Self-help videos

Free legal forms

 The Mississippi Access to Justice Commission is please to offer several online forms for individuals representing themselves.

Free Legal Forms

Legal Service providers

 Contact one of the legal service providers listed on this website for representation.

 Legal Service Providers

hire a lawyer

 If you would like to get representation click on our hire a lawyer representation.

 Hire a Lawyer

 

Get additional help for preparing for court by contacting one of our legal service partners!