Going to court can be extremely intimidating. However it does not have to be and with a few tips it is possible to get yourself prepared, both in terms of having the right information and documentation but also in the sense of preparing yourself mentally and emotionally.
What to be aware of
For example, you may wish to give evidence as a witness on your own behalf. While it is usually possible to do that your legal representative can advise you on whether or not this is appropriate (this usually depends on the nature of the case).
Another thing to be aware of is that everyone needs copies of all the documentation – this means everyone involved in the case has access to the same information.
You also need to contact the court if you have any specific requirements such as disabled access or if you require a translator if English is not your native language.
It is possible to represent yourself in court although it is not usually recommended. One of the main reasons is that you need to understand the law and the process involved. If you do choose to represent yourself it is recommended, however, that you seek legal advice beforehand so that you have time to prepare yourself.
Another big reason that you should not represent yourself is that lawyers have the benefit of more objectivity and professional distance – they are better positioned to advise you by the simple fact they are less emotionally involved.
Check before getting an expert opinion
In some cases (for example trading standards) you may want to get an expert to offer their opinion. This should be done in co-operation with the court and with their permission.
Don’t assume the judge knows everything
It is important to be as thorough as possible- a judge may not necessarily have all the information given to them to hand so you have to be prepared. In some cases, you may not be able to refer to notes (you should check this before going to court).
Ask if you don’t know
If you are not sure what the court is asking you to do or if you are unsure where the hearing is and so forth you need to ask them as soon as possible. They will be willing to give you the information you need and to clarify what they need from you. Remember to give in any documentation promptly and to fill in forms precisely how they instruct you.
If you are nervous about going to court or want more information about what to expect we are here for you. Please contact us for an initial consultation where we can tell you more about the court hearing process and what you need to be prepared for.