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6 Ways That On-Screen Court and Real-life Court Are Very Different

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There is no shortage of truly entertaining legal shows on TV. Filled with drama, danger, and mystery, shows like Judge Judy, People’s Court, Divorce Court, and Judge Joe Brown are popular daytime television programs.

But how accurate are they? Are they true to the happenings of legal cases in a real court room? Let’s find out! Here are 6 ways that on-screen court and real-life court differ.

  1. Confessions

When it comes to confessions, TV programs generally have the guilty admitting to their charge in open court. In real life, self-incriminating evidence is often not admissible in the courtroom.

Sometimes, this evidence is allowed after the proceeding of certain procedures. But even these procedures are not allowed to take place in the same court session.

  1. Instantaneous justice

In true TV fashion and for dramatic effect, judges usually deliver their verdict within a few minutes and alongside a grand speech. Real life justice, however, can be a long process.

Most of the time, both sides are heard and then the case enters a waiting period, where all parties involved await the judge’s verdict. This verdict may be given within a week, a month, or a year (or longer). The process is extensive and drawn out.

  1. Gavels

Every good TV court proceeding features at least one hit of the judge’s gavel. Whether it be to stop a heated argument or to officially end the session, you can rest assured that the gavel will drop.

In actuality, though, judges rarely ever use the gavel. Yes, they have it and yes they can use it- but more often than not, they don’t.

  1. Last minute evidence.

Many on-screen court cases include a healthy dose of last minute, fate-sealing evidence. You know the type- the document that the lawyer whips out of his pocket, the perfectly preserved fingerprint, etc etc.

Although this makes for a great show, it isn’t realistic. Most of the time evidence in real court proceedings is document beforehand and there are very few evident surprises, making this popular depiction nothing more than added drama for entertainment purposes.

  1. Napping

An episode of Judge Judy would be nothing more than a joke if one of the many people attending took an impromptu nap while the jury deliberated. Despite this, napping does happen in the real world.

This is mostly because of the length of any given court session; some sessions last upwards of 7 straight hours! They are also generally quite dry and filled with a lot more sleep-inducing silence than they are intense arguments.

  1. Attendance

In every episode of Law & Order, the courtroom is packed. In real court, however, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Most of the time, court rooms are relatively empty save for those who need to be there to testify, the judge, and the support people of both parties. Sometimes, there will be a handful of people, but generally the attendance rates are low.


How to pick the right lawyer

Finding the right lawyer is the most important step you can take toward winning a legal case and this does not have to be a hard task. Make sure to take time with the research. Try and find a lawyer that has had experience with your specific issue before and that you will get on with personally. If you take the time to find the right lawyer, it will be worth it as they may be more likely to help you win your case.

Decide what type of lawyer you need           

It is important to find a lawyer who has specialised expertise in the area that your case involves. It would be a good idea to find a lawyer that is familiar with the laws and courts of the area in which you are located. This will help your lawyer represent your interests to the best of their abilities with your case. There are many practice areas, such as bankruptcy law, criminal law, family law, employment law etc.

Review listings of Lawyers online                        

There are lots of websites online that offer free reviews of different lawyers and their businesses. There are also websites that specifically focus on helping low-income families or individuals on finding the right lawyer. Make sure to visit different sites to cross-reference reviews as this will help you with any sort of bias reviews that you may find.

Recommended lawyers from friends or family                                                         

Talk to your friends or family that have used a lawyer to find out who they hired, for what type of case and if they were pleased with the outcome. This will help with your decision making if they can recommend the lawyer or not.

Make a list

Draw up a list of potential lawyers that you have researched in your area. Include the lawyers name and address, the phone number and also the web address. This way you will be organised with your search going forward.

Review websites

  • Review every lawyer’s website to find out information on what type of law; he or she practices.
  • Check what sort of background information you can find on the lawyer, such what law school and the areas they specialise in.
  • Research some general information about the type of case you need help with.
  • Most lawyers that have websites should provide information on each lawyer that is working for the business. Check out each one of their work history and educational background.
  • Try and look for a lawyer that has at least two to five years of experience practising the type of law that you are looking for help with. Usually you should find a lawyer that is currently practising in your type of case.
  • Lots of lawyers are now on social media such as face book etc. Check out their profi

Arrange an appointment

Make an appointment with the lawyers you have chosen from your list of research. Most lawyers do not charge for consultation appointments. If so they may charge a small fee but make sure for certain if you are going to be charged or not. Do your research beforehand. Also if you do not live in the same area as the lawyer, you may be able to organise a phone conversation instead of a personal meeting. You will probably want your lawyer to appear with you for your court appearance, so it’s probably best to find a local one in your area who will represent you.

Hope this will help with your research on finding the right lawyer for you and your case. Remember, researching and gathering lots of information is the key to do this.

Blog Law Stories

It seems nothing is Exempt from Court Action – Even Landscaping!

You know, it seems that nothing is exempt from court action these days. I thought I had seen it all in court rooms, but I never considered that I might read about a case involving landscaping. Perhaps the following case has a lesson for us all, in relation to having friends doing tasks for us that maybe should be done by professionals.


This case happened in London, England, where a couple received a quote from a reputable landscaping firm, for works to be carried out on their gardens. The price they received was not agreeable to them, so they instead asked their friend, whom they thought had a landscaping background, to do the work, at a much reduced cost.

Now, rather than following through and getting a residential landscaping henderson firm as one might in the LV area, they instead got their friend in to start the work. This is when the problems began.

No Contract:

No contract or formal agreement had been drawn up in relation to the works. The friend organised other friends of his to come in and help in getting the work done. But ultimately, they ended up pretty much destroying the couple’s garden. The judge presiding over the case ruled that the friend, who was an architect, had a duty of care, while he counter argued that he was merely a friend, who happened to have a professional background.

men in suits


In the end, the couple still ended up having to hire the very same professional firm they got the original quote from, in order to right the damage done to their garden, at much greater cost than the original quote. The judge recommended that mediation take place between the parties, so a suitable outcome could be arrived at.