Whatever happened to courtroom etiquette?

Dear Editor,

I have observed total indiscipline by lawyers and John Public in courtrooms. Some lawyers wear coloured clothing and carry on conversations at the bar table. Lawyers even tout in the courtroom. While court is in session they text on their cell phones. Some lawyers are allowed to wear sunshades while in court, while John Public eats and drinks, and speaks on his cell phone while court is in session. He is permitted to wear whatever he wants to court, and I have seen members of the public reading newspapers while court is in session.

Not so long ago, judges and magistrates upheld courtroom etiquette, but it seems to me that courtroom etiquette has left with them.

When I am on a plane, I have to take my phone off because the signals interfere with the navigation. I comply. When I visit courts overseas, I have to lodge my cell phone outside the court and I have to be scanned before I enter the courtroom. I also have to be neatly dressed. I cannot wear a hot colour in an overseas court of law.

Are our judges and magistrates powerless when it comes to upholding courtroom standards?

Yours faithfully,
George O S Franklyn

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