1 – Understand What’s Important to the Court
The judge or magistrate hearing your case cares about three things:
- the law
- the facts
- how the law applies to the facts
Therefore, prior to addressing the court, you need to research and understand the laws that apply to your case.
You should be able to explain the laws to the court and then show the court how the relevant laws apply favorably to the facts at issue.
2 – Be Prepared to Back Up Your Claims with Evidence
Every point that you intend to make should be supported by evidence.
So, for instance, if you’re a landlord taking a tenant to court for non-payment of rent, be sure to bring a copy of the lease, your payment ledger, and any other pertinent documentation.
The evidence should be in a format that can be presented to the court. Often judges and magistrates will refuse to review documentation that’s accessible on only your phone or laptop.
3 – Know When to Stop Talking
You’re there to persuade the court–not to argue with the opposing party.
So stay on point.
Attempting to disprove every meaningless or inconsequential statement made by the opposing party will ultimately distract the court and make you look bad.
Focus on what the laws say. If they support your arguments, then say so. If they are unfavorable to the opposing side, then explain that to the court.
And, lastly, if the court makes a decision that’s beneficial to you, it’s usually best to stop talking.
If you have any questions about civil litigation, please feel free to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.