The most important thing about being in court is to go prepared. A good way to prepare is to create a trial binder that you take to court with all your important documents and notes.
Here is what your trial binder might include:
- Case Building Worksheet
- Court Documents - This includes all the filed notices, replies, applications, or orders
- Opening Statements – Your prepared draft
- Your Evidence – If giving evidence, list the points and documents you will discuss
- Witnesses – list of witnesses, questions you will ask and documents you will present
- Closing Statements – Your prepared draft
- Blank pages for your notes
Make three copies as well as the original of each document that you will be presenting.
For an Opening Statement, you will want to inform the Judge of what happened and what you are seeking. You can use this Opening Statement Worksheet to prepare.
Next, you will call and question your witnesses. Then, the other party will call witnesses and you will have an opportunity to cross-examine them. You can read more about questioning witnesses and what types of questions to ask.
Lastly, you will make a closing argument. The closing argument is not another chance to give evidence. You may only refer to points on which evidence has already been given. Fill in the Closing Statement Worksheet to help you prepare but be sure to fill it in with more detail during your trial.