I’m so happy I have signed up to receive Google Alerts. I set up one for Self-Represented Litigants and it sent me to a post today at Rights & Remedies: Top Ten Tips for Appearing in Civil Chambers. And apparently the blog originates out of British Columbia, Canada, but I’m pleased to note that the Top Ten Tips apply equally well to Self-Represented Litigants in South Carolina.
- Arrive early.
- Address the judge as “Your Honor” and show respect.
- When it is your turn, introduce yourself and you may be asked to spell your name for a court reporter.
- If you can, prepare a written document outlining your case to hand to the judge. Bring a copy for the judge, the clerk of court and the other side.
- If possible, prepare a draft Order of what you would like (your case) and bring with you.
- When you start to tell the case, summarize first then provide details.
- Do not interrupt the judge or the other party. Take notes of the parts you disagree with and why. When it is your turn to speak, refer to these points.
- Try to find a statute or case law that will support your point. Although it is tempting to say because “I’m right” this is not likely to convince the judge to rule in your favor.
- Do not argue with the judge if they rule against you. Instead try to find out if you have a right to appeal – and when you need to do so. Many appeals have tight deadlines.
- Read the Court rules about how to proceed in court BEFORE going.
I have added Rights & Remedies to the Blogroll. Take a look.