Court Appearances – A Guideline with Tips and Tricks to be in the Best Position to Succeed

A Guideline with Tips and Tricks to be in the Best Position to Succeed

You have received a notice from the court stating that your attendance is required. All the preparation of your matter has been completed, and your documents have been disclosed, served, and filed. The day has come where your court appearance is taking place, but there are a couple things that you should be mindful of. Below is a list of pertinent information that you should know before your big day.

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Notice to Attend Court

The Court in which your matter is being heard will send you a notice of when your attendance is required. This will include valuable information such as the date, time, location, and courtroom number where your specific matter will be heard. The notice will also include any rules to abide by – specifically focusing on deadlines as to when your documents need to be served and filed prior to your court attendance taking place.

The notice will also provide warnings such as if you do not attend. So, if you are unable to do so, you must be proactive in scheduling a new date or penalties can be incurred at the discretion of the Deputy Judge assigned to your matter. If you have any questions or concerns about a Notice you received from the court, contact Precision Paralegal Services and we can answer any questions you may have pertaining to the notice.

 

Types of Court Appearances*

*Given the circumstances because of COVID-19 and the courts not being fully operational at this time, the normal procedures outlined below may differ.

There are several types of appearances where your personal attendance is required. The notice you receive will indicate what type of hearing you are attending. The different types of court appearances are listed below.

Notice of Motion

  • A Notice of Motion will generally handle a wide variety of procedural matters that the applicant will bring forward to obtain a specific order from the Deputy Judge. Common requests include having a noting in default/default judgment set aside; requesting permission to serve a Plaintiff’s Claim outside the normally accepted forms of service; or other such possibilities.
  • The applicant must serve and file their materials at least 7 days prior to the hearing date. However, the respondent, should they choose to argue the motion, must serve, and file their materials at least 3 days prior to the motion date.

Settlement Conference

  • A Settlement Conference is where the Plaintiff(s) and the Defendant(s) attend the court to have their matter reviewed by a Deputy Judge. During this time, the parties engage in settlement discussions to try and reach a resolution. All parties must have their documents served and filed with the court at least 14 days prior to the Settlement Conference date.

 

Trial

  • A trial will take place if the parties are unable to settle. It is at the trial that they are to present their evidence in front of a Deputy Judge. The Deputy Judge will then make a final decision on the matter based on the facts. Parties must serve and file all documents relied on at least 30 days prior to the Trial date.

Other Common Hearings

  • Assessment Hearing:

    If the Defendant has not defended the action, you can schedule an Assessment Hearing to show the damages you are requesting outlined in your claim. The Deputy Judge hearing your matter may grant judgment, and at the amount they feel satisfied are proven to be owed.

  • Garnishment Hearing:

     a Garnishment Hearing can be requested by either party – either the garnishee does not agree with the notice of garnishment; or the garnishor is not receiving the garnished amounts as set out to be paid by the garnishee. The Deputy Judge will hear the matter and order a resolution based on the facts presented.

  • Notice of Examination:

    If the Plaintiff is granted default judgment, they can serve a Notice of Examination on the Defendant. This will result in the parties attending court to determine how the judgment will be paid. The Defendant is to fill out and provide their assets, debts, incomes, and expenses, to help facilitate an appropriate plan for the judgment to be paid. The Deputy Judge will hear the facts and determine a resolution based on the facts presented.

  • Contempt Hearing:

    If the Debtor does not attend a Notice of Examination or refuses to cooperate, the Creditor may schedule a Contempt Hearing as one final attempt to have the Debtor attend. A notice will be sent and is to be served. If the Debtor does not attend, a Deputy Judge may order the Debtor to be in contempt of court and have the Defendant jailed or fined.

Court Etiquette

When attending court and speaking to the Deputy Judge, it is strongly encouraged that proper court etiquette is in place. A few notes to keep in mind when attending your hearing:

  • Turn off your cellphone when in the courtroom
  • Do not eat or drink while in the courtroom
  • Address the Deputy Judge as “Your Honour”
  • Stand when you are being spoken to (unless if you are in a Settlement Conference, where this is not required)

Additional Tips

Outside of court etiquette and being aware of the type of hearing you are attending; it is very helpful to keep the following tips in mind to ensure your court experience runs smoothly:

  • Review your matter in advance to make sure you are familiar with all facts of the case (both your position and the position of the opposing party);
  • Ensure that you have abided by all deadlines regarding serving and filing your documents (depending on the type of hearing you are attending);
  • Arrive early to ensure you do not miss your scheduled time;
  • Check the court docket list in advance to make sure you are at the right place and time for your hearing; and
  • When speaking, keep your points simple, straightforward, and to the point. Remember – you are simply there to reiterate the facts of your matter and not to ramble. The Deputy Judge will not only appreciate this, but it will help to move the matter along in a smooth and efficient manner.

How Precision Paralegal Services Can Help

Need help in advance of your court appearance? Our staff at Precision Paralegal Services can help with preparing you to the best of our ability. With thousands of hours of court experience collectively under our belt, we can help put you in the best position to succeed. We are proud to offer extensive coaching services to help you walk through the hearing you are attending, at an hourly rate based on the paralegal you would be speaking with. Further, if you decide you do not feel comfortable to attend the hearing on your own and wish to have legal representation, please feel free to contact our office and one of our paralegals would be more then happy to review and potentially assist.

Please note, the sooner you contact our office, the better opportunity it gives our staff to thoroughly review your matter and provide assistance to the best of our capabilities.

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Experience Matters

We are one of the paralegal firms in Canada. The Precision Paralegal Services team has been representing our clients in the Ontario & Alberta for over 23 years. With over 100 years of combined experience and having completed over 20,000 court room hours, Precision Paralegal Services is the right choice for your matter.

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