How a Court Trial Functions

Rui Wu

Before the Trial

Before the trial begins, one party sues another party for whatever reason. The party suing the other party is the plaintiff. The party being sued is the defendant. Both parties will be called in by summons, a process that notifies people that they are to appear in court. Both parties then begin to write pleadings. Pleadings are formally written documents that state a course of action. The first pleading that is submitted is a complaint. A complaint is a formal document that lists out reasons and evidence for their case. The plaintiff writes a complaint to the judge. Then the defendant also writes his own pleading in response.

Judges sometimes hold pretrial conferences with both parties lawyers to discuss a multitude of things. One common thing that is discussed is when the court trial will be held and how long each party gets to speak.

During the Trial

A trial is how civil and criminal debates are settled. When two parties have a disagreement, then a trial is used to get them to agree with each other on how the next course of action will take place.

During the trial, the lawyers of both parties will present their cases by asking questions that will benefit their case to witnesses. The parties will take turns speaking and are put on a timer when they are going. Evidence from witness responses and physical objects are also used to help each parties case.

If a party believes that the other party has said something false they have the right to object and clarify, despite not being their turn,

After the Trial

Trials are used to ultimately make a decision on what the course of action should be for these two parties. One way to go about it is mediation. Mediation is when a third party helps the other two parties reach a compromise. Another way to solve a case is arbitration. Arbitration is when the two opposing parties agree to let a third party decide how to resolve the case and agree to the results before they are even made. Then the third party makes a decision that the two parties have to follow.

One heavy influence on a parties success is the preponderance of evidence. Preponderance of evidence is how strong the evidence is. If the evidence is a bunch of clouded memories from witnesses, it won't be as strong as a fingerprint on a gun.

Finally, the trial comes to a verdict - a resolution. The verdict is the final decision that must be obliged. If the defendant believes that there is a mistake in the trial, then they are able to file and appeal and take the case to a higher court to be reviewed.