19. Preparing for Trial and Appealing Judgment
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Once the case has been listed for trial, a Notice of Hearing will be sent to all parties to inform them of the trial date.
Once this is received, a solicitor must make the final preparations for trial:
Any witnesses or expert witnesses required to attend the trial must be sent a summons compelling them to attend trial.
From N20 must be completed and sent to the Court with the relevant fee.
A summons can be served either by the Court or the solicitor but must be done so at least a week before the date of the trial.
Once the trial date is confirmed, counsel must be booked and consideration given to the need for a pre-trial conference.
This is done by contacting chambers and ensuring that the clerk enters details of the trial in the diary.
Barrister’s fees are always arranged through the clerk and are not discussed directly with counsel.
Contact With the Client
The client should also be contacted to confirm that they are aware of the trial date and to discuss any remaining issues, including the possibility of settlement.
Preparing Trial Bundles
Trial bundles are prepared by the Claimant’s legal representative and must usually be filed three to seven days prior to the start of the trial.
The form of the bundle will differ according to the amount of information that need to be included but will include the trial timetable, statement of parties, schedule of issues, skeleton argument, list of authorities, case summary, chronology, claim form and statements, witness statements, expert reports and any other relevant documents.
After the Trial
Once the trial has finished and the judgment has been handed down, attention will turn to the issue of costs.
As discussed, there are a number of costs orders that may be made by the Court in response to counsel’s representations on the matter.
It may be that a party wishes to appeal the judgement given in the lower court.
There are two possible grounds of appeal.
Firstly, that the decision made in the lower court was wrong or that an irregularity or procedural error renders it unjust. Form N161 must be filed along with the necessary documentation and permission will generally be required from the trial judge.
Permission will only be granted if there is a real prospect of success or there exists some other compelling reason that renders an appeal necessary. In addition, there are strict time limits in relation to appeals and these must be adhered to.