Preparing for Trial

Preparing for Trial

The trial, also known as the final hearing, is a hearing before the judge in a courtroom. The judge conducts the trial and makes a decision about your case (makes orders)

 Getting ready for trial

These may include both the applicant and the respondent needing to:

•file affidavits of their evidence and that of any witnesses as directed by the judge

•obtain and file any expert reports directed by the judge

•file any other document directed by the judge

 How can you present your case to the Court?

At the trial the court will need to know the final outcome you want and the facts you are relying on.

 You will have told the court what you wanted when you filed (or responded to) the original or amended Initiating Application. The facts you are relying on to support your case are set out in your affidavit, and in the affidavits of your witnesses. See the fact sheet Preparing an Affidavit on the Family Law website.

 Tips and Hints

The following hints may help you prepare for the actual day in Court

  • make sure your witnesses know when and where to come to court
  • read the trial plan and make sure you understand what will happen
  • read all the affidavits from your case and the other party’s case to make sure you are familiar with the evidence
  • prepare questions if you want to cross-examine any of the witnesses
  • consider making an opening explanation (address) to the court
  • visit a family law registry (office) to watch the proceedings in another case
  • do a prior visit, know where to park, what bus to catch and be familiar with the building
  • If you have a meeting place with witness or supporters be clear (a pic could help)

  What can you do if someone won’t come to court? 

If you want to call someone to be a witness for your case, but that person will not agree to come to the Trial, you may ask the Court to issue a subpoena. A subpoena can be used to get a person to give evidence (tell the facts) to the Court, or bring documents to the Trial. To apply for a subpoena, use the Court’s Subpoena form.

 When you act for yourself, you need to obtain the Court’s permission for it to issue a subpoena. You do so by letter, stating why you seek the issue of the subpoena and what relevance it has in the case. You should raise the issue of requiring a subpoena at the procedural hearing before the judge or registrar. 

‘Subpoena: Information for a person requesting issue of a subpoena’ under the  Publications section of the Family Law Courts website.

 Adjournment of the Trial 

If you seek to adjourn a Trial you need to file an Application in a Case well before the date on which the Trial is due to start, and an affidavit setting out the facts as to why the adjournment is sought. The documents must be served on all parties.

Generally trials will not be adjourned unless unforeseen or exceptional circumstances arise. If an adjournment is granted the person who asked for it may be ordered to pay the other person’s costs.