- Slides: 17
Civil Pre-Trial Procedures
Civil pre-trial procedures • Procedures that occur before a trial commences in a civil case in the County or Supreme Court 2
Main Aim of Civil Pre-Trial Procedures To inform both parties and the court of information relating to the case. Attempt to negotiate an out of court settlement Try to avoid the time and expense of going to court. If do go to court, information provided in pretrial proceudres should result in a quicker trial.
Pleadings • Purpose is to gain information about the claim • Requires parties to state the main issues of the case • Compels each party to state material facts • Gives the court a written record of the case • Saves the court time and expense • Assist an out of court settlement if possible
Contain: • Details of the claim by the Plaintiff • Matters being raised as defence by the Defendant Pleadings Include 4 main documents: • Writ • Notice of Appearance • Statement of Claim • Statement of Defence
Formal written document Pleadings : Writ Plaintiff issues against the Defendant Explains action being taken against the Defendant Informs Defendant in which court and whether a jury involved
Pleadings : Writ • Then sent to court and copy served on the Defendant by the Plaintiff. • Indicates cause of action and remedies sought • Filing of writ indicates commencement of legal proceedings
Pleadings: Notice of Appearance Defendant must enter a Notice of Appearance to indicate they will defend the case against them.
Pleadings: Statement of Claim (normally attached to the Writ) Explains nature of claim Explains cause of claim Sets out remedy or relief sought.
Pleadings: Statement of Defence Sets out a response to each of the allegations contained in the Plaintiff’s Statement of Claim Normally either admits (? settlement? ) or denies (off to court) the allegations
Directions Hearings • Heard before judge or associate judge • Discuss progress of case and allow directions to be made • Purposes include: • giving directions • setting a timetable for future steps • hearing any applications • determining whether it is appropriate for mediation to occur • allocating a date for trial 11
Discovery • Purpose: • Allows the parties to get further information about the facts of the case Pleadings Vs Discovery • Pleadings = info about the claim • Discovery = facts about the case, what actually occurred.
Interrogatories Stages of Discovery/production of documents Medical examination/reports
Discovery: Interrogatorie s • Either side may serve interrogatories on each other • Questions relating to the known facts of the case • Obtain information that may be used as evidence • Deadline is set for written responses • Saves court time and expense • Just key facts in the trial • Reduces element of surprise in the trial
Discovery: Discovery of Documents Either side may request the other side to disclose any relevant documents. All relevant documents must be disclosed Either party may inspect all documents Some documents may be protected by privilege (eg doctors reports), their existence must still be disclosed.
Discovery: Medical Examination If the case involves bodily injury the Defendant may ask Plaintiff to submit to appropriate medical examination May ask for hospital or medical reports to be produced.
Mediations • At any time during pre-trial or trial proceedings, the court may order the matter to be referred to mediation. • More often than not a court will order that the parties attend mediation before trial.