Court Cases Made Simple

A comprehensive guide to getting through your case

The Low Down on Court Cases

Going to court is a big deal and for most people a new experience. Here are the basics:
If you are bringing a case to court you are the plaintiff. If you are the one the case is against you are the defendant.
The first stage of filing a lawsuit is called the pleadings stage. Pleadings are certain formal documents filed with the court that state the parties' basic positions.
The first step in the pleadings stage is filing a complaint. This is done by the plaintiff. A complaint is a pleading (formal written allegations) that initiates a lawsuit. It is a short and concise statement of the claim. It is usually written by your attorney. The defendant will receive a summons. A summons i basically a formal document that notifies the defendant of the impending case that has been filed against them.
The next stage is called the discovery phase. This is where both sides exchange information about what kind of information they will be presenting during the case, such as witnesses and evidence.
The next step is the pre-trial conferences. There are a few different types of conferences. The status conferences are held to help the judge manage the case. Another type of conference is the issue conference. This conference is when lawyers will meet with the judge without their clients to discuss undisputed facts or points of law.
There are other alternative ways to solve disputes other than going through a trial though! Arbitration and mediation represent two types of alternative dispute resolution.
Arbitration is used worldwide as a faster, less expensive way to end disputes than going to court. Arbitration hearings are a simplified version of a trial. Like with a trial, both parties may receive documents from other parties, prior to the hearing. During the hearing, each party has the right to present documents and witnesses, and to cross-examine witnesses.
Mediation offers an even simpler, more flexible alternative. Mediators, individuals trained in negotiation whose job is to stay neutral, bring parties together and create a dialogue in an attempt to work out a solution to a dispute that both parties can agree with.
If neither of these options will work for you then the only thing left to do is go through with a trial.
The jury during a trial will decide which case has the preponderance of evidence. In simple terms this means that the jury decides which case had the most convincing evidence. This helps the jury deliver their verdict or decision on who wins the case.
Don't worry! If you don't like the outcome of your trial you can always appeal to a higher court and see if they take on your case.

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