A key to success at trial is preparation. You wouldn’t want to hike Mount Everest in flip flops with only a granola bar. Much the same, you don’t want to find yourself at trial not knowing what to say or what to do. Being well prepared not only helps you deliver your points in a positive way it also keeps you calm. It’s important to stay calm during trial so you can deal with high emotions, questions from the judge, and other stresses that arise.
At trial, you will likely introduce two types of evidence, documental and oral.
You will need to:
It’s now time to look back to your Evidence Inventory Worksheet from Chapter 7 and see what documents you are planning to present. Make sure you have every document you have listed. It’s best to have the original of each document as well as 3 copies. You will be using these copies to give to your judge, witness, and the other side. One of the best ways to prepare your documents is by preparing a trial binder.
It is also a good idea to make a version of the trial binder for other kinds of hearings in court.
A trial binder is a binder you take to trial that contains all your important documents, including the evidence you will show at court and your notes. Making a trial binder is a great way to get organized for your trial.
A trial binder usually consists of several sections. Here is what your trial binder order might look like:
You will need some materials to create your trial binder.
You will need:
Create a tab for each of the sections. For court documents place them in chronological order so you can sort through them easily. The witness tab is subdivided into the name of each witness you and the other side will call. Place the questions you have prepared and the documents they will be talking about under each name. Organize the name either alphabetically or in order of appearance in court. Remember to make 3 copies of each document that you will be presenting. Finally be sure to include lots of blank paper for you to take notes on during the trial.
How to give your documents to the court during the trial
You should bring to your hearing or trial 3 copies of each document you plan to present to the court along with the original. 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 need to explain the content of the document. For example a doctor may need to discuss the medical report you are presenting to the court.
If you are presenting a document:
If you are presenting a document to a witness:
Make sure to note on your copy of the document what number exhibit it is marked as so you can refer to it later on.