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Going to Court

Preparing for Your Court Hearing

Here are some tips on how to get ready for your day in court:

  • Make a list of the main points and issues in your case
  • Prepare a detailed outline of what you think the judge needs to know and the facts that back it up. 
  • Decide how you intend to present those facts to the court.
  • If you plan on being the only witness, you will have to tell the judge the facts through your testimony and by responding to the questions asked by the other party or their lawyer. 
  • Decide if you will call other witnesses or provide documents or evidence for the judge.
  • If you do call witnesses, talk to them and prepare them beforehand. You should know what you will ask them in court – in fact, before you ask a question in court you should know what the witness will answer. Otherwise you may get an answer that does not help you.
  • Select witnesses who have first-hand knowledge of the facts that you want to present to the judge. Secondhand evidence is called hearsay and it is not allowed. For example, if you are bringing a letter from someone to use as evidence, you may have to bring the person who wrote the letter to court as a witness. Only an expert witness can give opinions or beliefs. Generally, the judge is only interested in the facts. 
  • It is up to you to make sure your witnesses know when to come to court.  If you think they may not show up, you will have to arrange for a Summons to Witness (Form 55A) to be issued by the court administrator in advance of the hearing.  You will also have to pay a fee to have the witness appear.    
  • Decide the order you will call your witnesses.
  • Prepare questions to ask the other party and their witnesses.
  • In planning what to say, try to anticipate and be prepared to answer issues you think the other party will bring up in court.
  • Stick to the facts you prepared to present your case to the court.

Preparation is the key to success when you represent yourself in Court.

 

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