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How to best prepare for your Court hearing
Written by: Natasha Poppen
The legal system can be confusing and even intimidating to those of us that aren’t familiar with it. Preparing a case and attending a trial in any Court is a complicated process. You want to ensure that you present your case well in order to be successful. We’ve broken down the ways you can best prepare for your hearing below.
Hire a lawyer
Nickita Knight, founder of Knight Family Lawyers, states “your best chance of being successful in Court is by hiring a lawyer to represent you.” The legal system is incredibly complex. A trained professional has a detailed understanding of the law and how to apply it to your case, as well as your legal rights and responsibilities. They know exactly what processes are involved, what documents need to be submitted and when, and how to prepare the strongest possible case. Not only that, but your lawyer can help you prepare for what to say and how to act in Court.
Endeavouring to battle a legal case on your own can lead to significant stress and lowers your chances of being successful. A trial in Court is expensive enough on its own, so you want to take every step possible to ensure you achieve the best outcome. Representing yourself means you risk being unprepared for your trial, which can trigger a loss in Court or at best an adjournment, incurring further legal fees and time.
Gather your witnesses
To strengthen your arguments, you need to provide the Court with evidence via witnesses who can prove what you are stating. When preparing for court, you must think about what a witness is in regard to your particular case. They may include people who heard or saw something that supports your case or a specialist who can provide an expert opinion regarding your situation. Businesses and employers that hold documents which are important to your case also classify as witnesses. Your lawyer will inform you as to what evidence your witnesses can give and whether certain evidence would be considered hearsay.
Prepare yourself for the process of cross-examination. Your case will be examined thoroughly by the opposing party and you need to be equipped for what you are about to say. Not only that, but be aware of the time it may take to get through all the evidence in a trial. In some instances, evidence examination may last for several days rather than just one. This can be an intense process and being mentally prepared will make the process just that little bit easier on you.
A courtroom is a very formalised, strict place. You want to appear well-presented to the Judge or a Jury that you are arguing your case to. Appropriate outfits for women and men include work wear such as blazers, pants, pencil skirts, blouses or shirts with dress shoes. Thongs, shorts and t-shirts are not acceptable Courtroom attire.
On the day, there are some strict guidelines you should follow to ensure your trial runs smoothly.
- Arrive at least 30 minutes early, as you need to be checked by security and locate the appropriate courtroom. Arriving late to your trial is considerably frowned upon.
- Turn off all electronic devices to avoid any disruptions during the trial.
- Whenever you enter or leave the courtroom while the Court is in session, pause at the door and nod to the judicial officer (aka the Judge).
- When your case is called, stand up and the court officer or associate will direct you to the bar table. Stand with the other party at the bar table until the Judge has arrived and been seated. Announce your name clearly and state whether you are the applicant or respondent.
- Note that whenever the Judge enters or leaves the Courtroom, you will be asked to rise.
- Don’t bring any food and drink inside the courtroom.
We hope the evidence above helps you prepare for your experience within the legal system. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, contact one of our lawyers and they can assist you.