Represent Yourself in Civil Courts

Legalby Mashum Mollah24 September 2019

civil courts

While the reasons why someone would do this and leave out an experienced lawyer are not entirely clear, there are times when representing yourself in court is justified. Common sense says that complicated cases require a lawyer, for example, if you are charged with a crime. Being your own legal representative is acceptable when it comes to smaller and less serious cases, such as civil trials.

Sometimes people can’t afford a good lawyer. Or they are confident about their rhetoric and analytical skills, that they are almost convinced in winning the case, even without the attorney. Also, attorneys from Websters Lawyers office point out some people believe that no lawyer would represent them as they wish. They want to speak directly in front of the jury and judge

Another reason is when the lawyer’s costs exceed the amount of the dispute. Then people usually dedicate themselves to the case, getting evidence and witnesses, and preparing for trials. Whatever you decide to do in court, you should know some things.

Understand the Law System

You can’t just appear in front of the judge and jury saying some nebulous things and wasting everyone’s time. It is a disrespect of the court and the time of all its employees. If you want to represent yourself in the best possible way, you should study court and procedural laws. Lawyers have been studying law for years; so don’t try to become an expert in a few weeks or months.

Instead, rely on the right literature. Ask someone familiar with the law for help. Examine cases similar to yours. Visit a public law library or legal websites – this can be a great help in learning and understanding terminology.

Schedule an appointment with a court clerk to guide you through the procedure and paperwork on filling the lawsuit. You can also find out about the flow of your case, whether you need to do anything before the trial, how to submit the required documents or evidence, and so on. Respect the time of the clerk; only ask questions which answers will help you in your case.

If you want to be sure about all the court processes and procedures, a good idea would be to consult with the best civil lawyers. Even if you do not want them to fight your case, you can take help from them in understanding how the paperwork works and what are some of the best practices of building and presenting the case.

Respect the Court

civil courts

The course of the trial is a pattern – both sides make opening statements; then the plaintiff takes and examines the witnesses, and finally, the defendant will do the same. During the interrogation, the opposing party can ask questions, with the permission of the judge. After that, it’s time for closing arguments and ‘convincing’ the jury and judges why they should decide on your favor.

While this process is ongoing, you should treat everyone in the courtroom with the utmost respect. Avoid informal speech, but also do not use overly technical terms that you don’t understand. You are allowed to have notes but do not read everything from paper. That seems highly unprofessional and tells the other side that you didn’t prepare well for the case.

Talk to the witnesses directly. Don’t beat about the bush and don’t lead the witness. Read here about this tactic which most judges don’t allow. If you have facts and substantial evidence, justify them, and ask straight questions. Civil suits are a daily routine in the courts and are quickly resolved; no need to make a sensation of your case.

Lawyer as a Help

If you have already decided to represent yourself in court, this does not mean you can’t contact a lawyer. Moreover, it is desirable to seek their help. Make sure you find a legal expert who has experience with cases like yours.

Attorneys will not take over your whole case; they will only act as an advisory body. They will not go to court with you, but they can see you beforehand and instruct you how to behave, what to ask, and how to introduce yourself.

In some cases, a lawyer may advise you to try to settle the case out of court. That is sometimes the best solution. Of course, it all depends on the situation. For example, if you are filing a claim against the employer for work injury compensation, it may be better to go to court. The payment you’d get in this way is generally higher than what you would receive if you make an out-of-court agreement.

What the other benefits of an out-of-court settlement are, check below: (The advantages of taking an out of court settlement)

Judges are people made of flesh and blood. When they see a layman in front of them doing their best to get a case, they may be tolerant, in the sense of correcting you if using the wrong terms or raising the tone. However, this doesn’t mean that it will be on your side. The better you prepare for the trial, the higher your chances are. Don’t be afraid of the opposite party’s lawyer. At this point, your statements and evidence are worth the same. It is up to the judge and the jury to decide who was more convincing.

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Mashum Mollah

Mashum Mollah is an entrepreneur, founder and CEO at Viacon, a digital marketing agency that drive visibility, engagement, and proven results. He blogs at

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