Talk to the other party before trial to try to resolve the dispute without going to trial. Negotiate to see if you can find a compromise. If you can come to an agreement, this may save time and money, compared to going to Court. Use the internet to search for articles and videos about “negotiation tips” and how to “settle out of court.”
If an out-of-court settlement is reached, the plaintiff must submit a statement to the Court indicating that the case has been settled before the hearing date. Be sure to put the case number on any documents filed including a statement that the case is settled.
If you cannot come to an agreement, there are several things you can do to get ready for trial. Spend time to lay out your case. Often, the person who is most prepared is the one who wins the case.
Start by making a timeline of the events that lead to the dispute. Make factual notes and gather any evidence that will help you prove your case. At trial, you are going to need to present a legal case. This is NOT the same as telling your story. You need to include these key building blocks:
|Your claim||What do you want?|
|The law||What legislation applies to your case?|
|The facts||What are the important details of your case?|
|The evidence||What documents and witnesses prove the facts of your case?|
You need to state what you want (your claim). You need to reference the law that applies to your case. You need to explain the facts of your case. And you need to present evidence to demonstrate that the facts of your case are correct and true.
Collect the documents related to your case, such as receipts, invoices, contracts, email messages and photographs. Consider who may be a witness to provide evidence in your case. Your case will be decided based on the facts and the evidence you provide. In Court, you will make statements to explain your case and you need to support these statements with evidence.
Organize all the key points that you want to make and write them down. Keep your notes factual – don’t write long stories. Stay focused. Write your notes in the order that you will present the information in Court. You should be able to follow the outline of your notes during your presentation. Your organized notes will help you to stay on track and present your case in a professional manner.