In the Courtroom

There are certain rules and procedures, which must be followed when you get to court. First, both sides should appear at the proper place at the proper time and respond to the clerk when your case is called.

The plaintiff, or person bringing the lawsuit, will always go first and will be asked to state his/her case briefly. The defendant should not interrupt at this juncture, since both parties will get a chance to talk. If you are the plaintiff you should rarely take more than five minutes to explain your case.

At this time you should also present any evidence such as photos, documents, charts, models, diagrams, bills, writings and other evidence. You should hand them to the judge's assistant, usually the bailiff or the clerk, who will hand them to the judge. You should also point out to the judge at this time that certain witnesses are in the court room. The judge may decide if he/she wants to hear from the witnesses and at what point they should testify.

Then the judge will ask the defendant to present his/her case. At this time the plaintiff should not interrupt, or make faces or other noises. The judge will quickly become angry with any party engaging in such disruptive activities, and it may affect the outcome of your entire case.

After hearing both sides, the judge may want to ask questions or talk to certain witnesses or review documents or other evidence. Do not become unnerved if the judge seems to be asking the other party more questions or for more information. More often than not, the judge may be leaning to your side in the case and he/she may be asking certain questions to make sure their decision is right.

If you have any question about courtroom procedures, or about small claims, contact member services and be paired with an attorney. They will be able to assist you with your specific need.

Posted in: Small Claims