Court trials require you and your lawyer to work as thoroughly and diligently as possible on the case at hand. Disagreements are unpleasant, but if you feel that you are in the right and that you have enough to build up a case, then you can choose to prepare and move forward.
What to Bring to a Court Trial
What do you need to bring to a Court trial? You should make sure that you have a copy of all the documents that you have filed at the Court or what you are served with. Relevant materials should also be brought to the trial by you or your lawyer in Sydney.
You and your lawyer should have these materials ready for the final stage of trial preparation which is gathering all the information then organising it into a convenient format that you can use during the trial.
Different practising lawyers have various methods and styles of putting together their data and information, but the most popular solution is the trial notebook. It is usually a standard three-ring binder with tabbed dividers, where your lawyer can place and organise their notes. Some legal professionals are even experimenting with using digital files, but the goal remains the same. The purpose of the trial notebook is to provide your lawyer with portable storage for everything that you may need at trial. It should also make it easier for you to immediately locate any piece of that material.
Different Sections of a Trial Notebook
The order of the chapters may differ from one trial practitioner from Canberra from another lawyer in Sydney; however, the following sections should be included in a trial notebook:
1. Dramatis Personae
This contains the names, addresses, and phone numbers of everyone relevant to the case. This includes the judge, clerk, court reporter, opposing lawyer, client, and witnesses.
2. Case Theory
This section contains your case theory and a diagram or outline of your proof. The outline of proof includes the list of witnesses and exhibits needed to establish all the elements of the case. This will serve as a quick reference to help support an offer to connect pieces of evidence through witnesses or to answer questions from the judge about your case. This should also contain what the opposing side should prove.
3. Trial Schedule
This contains everything that your side intends to at trial in the order that you will do it. It is like writing down a scenario that you will refer to as you go. It will remind you to make a motion, ask for a recess, call a witness, etc.
4. Last-minute Reminders
This contains a checklist of things that should be done at the last minute. This includes calling witnesses, getting a treatise from the library, etc. Relying solely on memory can be risky as you and your lawyer will both be under the stress of an imminent trial.
This contains a list of questions for the judge at the beginning of the trial. This includes whether the judge will permit an exhibit to be used in the opening statement, the preference of whether objections are to be argued at the bench or in open Court.
6. Court Documents
This section contains pleadings, rulings on motions, pre-trial orders, and any other official court documents.
7. Jury Selection
This chapter contains notes for jury selection, a copy of the law concerning grounds for challenge for cause, and a jury seating chart.
8. Opening Statement.
This contains notes for the opening statement.
The trial notebook should contain separate sections for each witness. Regardless of whether they are favourable or not. This section includes copies of statements and documents relating to that witness and an outline of the direct or cross-examination.
10. Trial Motions
This section contains notes about arguments for or against an expected move for judgement.
11. Closing Argument
This section contains notes about the final argument. This section includes sketches, diagrams, or any visuals that your lawyer wants to present to enforce the closing argument.
12. Jury Instructions
This contains a copy of the jury instructions permitted by the Court and any requests for additional guidance.
13. Exhibits Appendix
This section contains originals or copies of all the documents your lawyer will use at any point during the trial. It should also have a checklist where your lawyer can keep track of which ones have been admitted into evidence.
14. Evidence Research Appendix
This should contain copies of evidence research and any briefs available to support objections or arguments for admissibility.
15. Discovery Appendix
This section is for answers to interrogatories and requests for admissions, and for transcribed depositions.
Although your lawyer will be preparing most or all of these sections, understanding what information is available, what details are included and what could be missing will give you a better idea of how ready your lawyer in Sydney is for the trial. Understanding these sections will also help you follow your discussions with your lawyer and have a better understanding of the case you are fighting for.