By Paul Bergman, Sara Berman

This is the low-down on tips on how to deal with a civil courtroom case from begin to end. Readers methods to: learn the legitimacy of a case, make a gap assertion, line up persuasive witnesses, current testimony in court docket, cross-examine competitors, decide a jury. for individuals facing a private harm declare, a landlord-tenant dispute, a small enterprise scrape or any of the handfuls of alternative attainable felony muddles, this publication issues the best way during the advanced court docket method. encompasses a bankruptcy facing the specifics of dealing with a divorce, baby custody or baby aid motion.

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Some judges hear criminal matters; others ­conduct only civil (noncriminal) proceedings; still others hear only cases involving juveniles. Judges’ powers depend on the courts in which they preside. For instance, 24 | represent Yourself in Court judges in small claims courts usually have power only to grant a limited sum of money damages, often between $2,500 and $15,000. Judges in appeals courts do not conduct trials at all, but review decisions of trial courts. ) In large communities, where there are many judges, some judges may conduct hearings on pretrial concerns but not the trials themselves.

Typically, the Clerk’s Office is where documents relating to all the cases pending or decided in a courthouse are filed and stored. If one building houses two or more courts, such as a small claims and a civil court, or a federal district and a bankruptcy court, each court will have its own Clerk’s Office. That’s because each court has its own filing and record-keeping procedures. You’ll have to locate the Clerk’s Office for the court hearing your case. Waiting in Line at the Clerk’s Office At many Clerk’s Offices, as at the post office or bank, you’ll probably file papers and talk to clerks over a counter or through a window.

35 Chapter 2 | The Courthouse and the courtroom | 19 R epresenting yourself in court can be like traveling to a different country. Courtrooms, like nations, have unique rules and customs and even a somewhat different language. Just as with traveling, a successful courtroom experience depends on knowing where you want to go, what the rules are during your journey, and what to expect when you get to your d ­ estination. If you think of this book as your “travel guide” to the world of lawsuits, this chapter is the part that explains the duties and functions of the various people you will encounter, the “lay of the land,” customs and etiquette of the “natives,” and tips for dealing with them.

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