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How Can I Prepare For Court?

Preparation and communication

Preparing for court starts the moment you instruct us as we deal with every case on the basis that court proceedings may be required if we cannot settle the claim for you on amicable terms with the defendant.

Once proceedings are issued at the court, a timetable (officially called ‘court directions’) is set by the court for the progression of a case towards a final hearing.

We will need to maintain regular contact with you as we complete the necessary court directions required to put together a file of all of the documents and evidence requested by the court and/or the defendant in preparation for the court hearing.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Do I have to go to court?
  2. What should I wear to court?
  3. How can I prepare myself for the hearing?
  4. Do I need to bring any documents with me to court?
  5. What if I am late or cannot attend court for the hearing?
  6. What if I am ill and cannot attend the hearing?
  7. What happens if the barrister is ill?
  8. What happens if the judge is ill?
  9. How should I behave at court?
  10. Can I claim for the expenses of attending trial?

1. Do I have to go to court?

There is always a chance that you may need to attend court. Once we issue court proceedings on your behalf, if the matter fails to settle then your attendance may be required at any final hearing.

We will always do all that we can to settle a case in advance of any final hearing.

2. What should I wear to court?

Although the court does not issue a dress code for the occasion, we would highly advise conservative smart clothing is worn rather than casual wear.

Dressing smartly and appropriately for attendance before a judge shows your intentions to court and respect for the judge who will hear your case. We all know that first impressions last, so you should endeavour to create a good one. We would recommend that you avoid wearing sports clothing, training shoes, etc… and wear smarter business type attire such as a suit; generally a shirt and tie or blouse, with pants and smart shoes with accompanying blazer.

3. >How can I prepare myself for the hearing?

Approaching the date of your final hearing, it is advisable for you to read over your paperwork from the claim. This includes your witness statement, medical reports and other documents that have been collated during the course of your claim.

It is especially important that the night before the hearing, you refresh your memory with the key documents that form the essential arguments in your case. Your representative from here at the firm will go through the main issues with you. You will also have the opportunity to speak with any barrister who may represent you at court beforehand.

We suggest that you arrive at court early; at least 45 minutes before the hearing is listed to begin. You will therefore need to plan your journey and know where you are going, and leave with plenty of time to arrive on time. If you are driving, you should ensure that you know where to park as courts are commonly located in the city centres and do not have public parking facilities close by.

4. Do I need to bring any documents with me to court?

You do not have to worry about bringing any documents with you. A copy of all of the evidence that you have provided to us previously, including a copy of your statement will be brought by your representative from this firm and/or your barrister.

5. What if I am late or cannot attend court for the hearing?

Whilst the court has the power to vary the time and the date of the hearing, they will not accept your lateness or failure to attend. The most serious of consequences can be the judge striking out your case entirely.

That is not to say there cannot be exceptions, but it would have be a serious and unavoidable reason such as a medical emergency.

If you are late or you know you will be late for your hearing, then when it is safe to do so, please contact your representative ASAP to let them know of your situation so that we can make the appropriate actions, contacts and awareness.

6. What if I am ill and cannot attend the hearing?

As already stated above, it would have to be a medical emergency for your hearing to be adjourned for this reason.

If you have been ill weeks prior to your court hearing date, it is your responsibility to let us know in advance so that we can make the appropriate decisions and actions to reschedule the hearing if necessary. We will need to apply to the court and obtain evidence of your illness as necessary.

If you have any questions or worries, then please contact your solicitor for more information.

7. What happens if the barrister is ill?

Your attendance at court is still required.

When the barrister is ill, they will inform their clerk, who will send someone to court to notify the judge and everyone present. Based on this, the judge will usually agree to adjourn the hearing for another time or an alternative barrister will be appointed to deal with your case.

8. What happens if the judge is ill?

Your attendance at court is still required.

There should be replacement judges available to ensure that your hearing goes ahead.

The most likely reason for the hearing to be adjourned by the court’s own motion is when the court has been overbooked and there is no judge or courtroom available.

9. How should I behave at court?

At court you should behave by being courteous and respectful. You should not chew gum, eat, listen to music using earphones, read anything other than material that is related to the case, take photos, film or use a mobile phone for calls or otherwise.

Being angry or argumentative as you give evidence does not help your situation or improve your chances of winning your case. Staying calm, collected and sticking to the facts and being truthful will help you, particularly when questioned by the defendant’s barrister or the judge.

When talking, you should speak loudly and clearly. You should only speak when you have permission to do so. Do not talk over other people, especially the judge. You should also refer to the judge as “Your Honour”.

Find out more about what happens at court.

10. Can I claim for the expenses of attending trial?

If you incur any travel costs and loss of earnings in attending trial, please ensure you bring along a copy of your receipts, or letter from your employer or other proof of this with you. You need to make your barrister aware of these expenses by passing the proof onto them. The barrister can then ask the judge at the end of your case when you have been successful to include these losses in your claim. If you do not make your barrister aware of these losses, then you will lose out as they cannot be claimed once the trial has been concluded.


This page was last updated on 26th July 2016. This is a disclaimer to say that although we do make an effort to ensure that information contained on this website is accurate and up-to-date, we would like to remind you that this information is subject to change without notice and that we can accept no liability for the accuracy and/or inaccuracy of the information contained on this website at any given time.

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