preparing for a trial opening address
what is a trial opening address?
A trial opening address is a part of the trial during which litigants are allowed to make their opening statements before the court.
A trial in a family law case is very challenging but with sufficient preparation, it can be surpassed with excellent results. Theories about trial techniques can be learned in books and the classroom but actual practice is mastered by experience and preparation. The first stage wherein you can put your knowledge and skills to the test is the trial opening address.
It is your opening statement to the court. You have to make this one count because this is the first time that you will be formally addressing the court. Your address will be heard by everyone in the courtroom including the other party. The applicant will be the first to make the opening address followed by the respondent.
During the opening address, the party must state the orders that he is praying for the court. It is important to know the relevant issues in the case because these will be the basis of the orders that you will be asking from the court. Even before appearing in court you must have already studied your family law issues and the issues raised by the other party.
You will likewise be stating for the record the evidence that you will be presenting during the trial. For this, you must be ready with a list of the complete names of your witnesses, the affidavits that they have executed, and other documentary and object evidence that you intend to present. The court and the other party will want to know about these matters because a subpoena might be needed for a witness to come to court or a certain piece of evidence to be brought before the court.
Sometimes during the opening address, the court will allow parties to raise objections against the evidence of the parties. You must listen carefully to the evidence mentioned by the other party so that you can make a timely objection. The court will then be ruling on the admissibility or inadmissibility of the evidence.
How do I prepare for my opening address?
- Confidence comes with preparation.
You must do your homework. As parties to a court case, you will be furnished in advance by the other party copies of their application, replies and affidavits. So, you will know even before the trial begins what are the issues and the evidence of the opposing party. Study carefully these important documents.
Study the applicable law provisions to your case. The issues that you will be raising must have a remedy under Australian laws. You must also have a good grasp on the rules of admissibility of evidence so that you can make the proper objections.
Write, polish and practice speaking aloud your opening address before going to court.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.