You've Been Served

(Court Trial, Not Food)

The Summons

When you asked to appear before court, you are given a summons

  • Summons- an order to appear before a judge


Before the trial begins, there is a conference called a pretrial conference.

  • Pretrial Conference- a conference held before the trial begins (pretrial) to discuss the issues to be tried.

What Happens Next

The defendant appears for arraignment.

  • Defendant- the one accused

Defendant then establishes a plea bargain

  • Plea Bargain- defendant agrees to plead guilty to a particular charge
  • Plaintiff- person who brings the case against the defendant


During the trial, the evidence is brought up.

  • Trial- a formal examination of evidence before a judge

The evidence is examined in a process called preponderance of evidence.

  • Preponderance of Evidence- test of evidence required to convict in a criminal trial

Ways To Solve A Dispute

There are a couple ways to solve a dispute in court. They are mediation and arbitration

  • Mediation-intervention into a dispute in order to resolve it
  • Arbitration- the use of an arbitrator (person appointed to solve a dispute) to solve a dispute in court

Formal Statements and Documents

Pleadings and complaints are some examples of formal items in court

  • Pleading- the formal statement of the cause of an action or defense
  • Complaint- formal legal document that sets out facts and legal reasons

Final Decisions

The court can make two decisions based on the trial. It can make a verdict or an appeal

  • Verdict- a decision on the disputed issue of a case
  • Appeal-reversing the decision that the lower court made