There are two types of evidence – documents and oral evidence. Documents include contracts, receipts, emails, pictures, videos, etc. Oral evidence includes what a person says while under oath.
To present a document in court and enter it as evidence you usually need someone, a witness or a party (this could be you), to introduce it to the court. They will need to swear that it is the authentic document and may be needed to explain the content of the document.
Steps for presenting a document in court:
- Take each original document and hand it to the court clerk as you tell the judge about it. The clerk will give the document to the judge.
- Give the other party one of the copies of the document.
- You may need to stand in the witness box and swear or affirm the truth of your statements. Alternatively, you may present the document to the court if it is an exhibit to your sworn affidavit.
- After identifying the document, it will be marked as an exhibit.
If you are presenting a document to a witness:
- Make sure the other side has a copy of the document.
- Give the document to the clerk.
- Ask the clerk to mark it for identification and give it to the judge at the beginning of the testimony of the witness who will identify it.
- Once it has been identified, ask the clerk to mark it as an exhibit.
You and the other party may bring witnesses to court to help prove your case. Witnesses will need to answer questions asked by both parties and the judge. When you call a witness to court you will get to ask questions first. A witness cannot lie when they answer. If they do, there may be serious penalties, such as a fine or jail time.
A witness should be able to help establish the facts you’re trying to prove. If you have documents you want to present to the court, you may need to have a witness explain them or verify their authenticity. Witnesses can also give evidence on things they heard or saw. For example, if your neighbour told you about seeing a fire in your backyard, you could have your neighbour provide this information in court.
It is important that the witnesses you choose are credible, articulate, and sincere. You can’t tell your witnesses what to say. But it may be helpful to review the questions with them that you will ask and the information they will provide. It is also helpful to consider what questions the other party or the judge may ask.