If your dispute is one that is not resolved prior to attending court, there are many steps and considerations to be made in the lead up to trial. The month before trial can often cause the greatest amount of stress, the most amount of work, and can be a very emotional time for the parties involved.
While preparation of the case is ultimately the aim of the game, there are also the practicalities for parties going to trial that are important. These include:
In the lead up to trial, and during the days of trial, clients must be ready, willing and able to provide instructions. No one knows the facts of the dispute better than the parties themselves.
If your trial is listed for, say, three days, you will need to make sure you have the time off of work, child care is arranged, you have transport to the court, and that you have a support person (if necessary). If you are a business owner you will need to make arrangements for your business so that you can focus first and foremost on the trial.
Keep track of changes
As the trial draws closer, there may be changes to the parties pleadings or changes to elements of the case, as the evidence continues to be gathered and investigated.
Parties will be expected to interact with their legal team regularly to give detailed instructions. Parties must cooperate by being able to locate documents and other evidence, even at short notice.
Organise your witnesses
Have your list of witnesses and their contact details up to date, and ensure that all witnesses are aware of the dates and times they are required to attend court. Expert witnesses such as doctors or engineers can have their evidence taken by telephone, if the court allows.
Know the basics of courtroom etiquette
Parties must be mindful that court proceedings are serious matters, and be aware of many ‘rules of conduct’ in a courtroom. These include being punctual, dressing appropriately, and behaving in a certain manner. For instance, stand when the Judge enters and leaves the courtroom, address the judge as ‘Your Honor’, and be respectful when other parties are speaking.
This applies to parties as well as their witnesses.
If you would like more information about preparing for trial please contact our office on (07) 4963 2000 or via our online contact form should you have any queries.