people's Lawyer


What Happens At The Trial? 

In most courts, once the defendant is served with notice, the trial date will be set. In other courts, the date may be set by order and you will be responsible for giving notice of the trial date to the defendant. Telephone the clerk and double check your trial date. Find out the time that the court will hear your trial. Make sure you are there at the time the trial is scheduled to begin. If you are not on time, you may have your case dismissed. Once the case is set for trial, only legal excuses for not going to trial will be accepted. If you are there, but not ready, your case may be dismissed.

When you arrive, take a seat in the courtroom. Procedures vary from court to court. Usually, the court will go through a "docket call." Answer when your case is called. Some judges will ask you whether you are ready to proceed with your case. You should answer "ready." He will then ask the person you are suing the same question.

Most judges will briefly explain the procedure to be used in your trial. If you are confused about anything he says, or if you have other questions, do not be afraid to ask the judge. When the trial begins, the judge will ask you and your witnesses to swear to tell the truth. The judge will also swear in the person you are suing before he tells his side of the controversy.

A new provision for small claims in justice court allows you to be repreented by someone other than an attorney. The law states:

(c) Assisted Representation. The court may, for good cause, allow an individual representing himself or herself to be assisted in court by a family member or other individual who is notbeing compensated.

This means that if you feel you cannot adaquetly represent yourself—for example, your English is not very good or you get extremely nervous when speaking in coirt—you may ask the judge for permission to have someone such as a family member assist you.