For many of us, going to court can be an incredibly daunting experience, especially if you have never been before. Often, individuals are so busy focusing on other issues at hand that when the court date actually approaches they feel unprepared and unfocused – which may negatively affect the presentation of their case. If you have an upcoming court appearance, there are some things to keep in mind before your hearing that will help you to feel calm and confident, and put your best foot forward on the day.

Be on top of your evidence

Have your legal advisor or attorney assist you with the preparation of all evidence and documentation, and go through it together with them to ensure that you are as prepared as possible. Obtain, compile, and submit written documents as soon as possible, including any necessary medical certificates, police reports, statements, character references, financial documents, and anything else that is relevant to your case. Be sure to make at least 3 copies of each and every document, just in case!

Stay calm

There are a few things you can do to help stay calm during the court process. One is to confirm your court date, time, and location as soon as possible – including arranging all transport or, if needed, applying for a change of date as soon as possible. Another great idea is to visit the court in advance and sit in on some other hearings so that you familiarise yourself with the environment and the proceedings, so that you know what to expect on the day. Also, organise in advance for a close friend or family member to accompany you to your hearing for moral support before, during, and after your hearing.

Practice your submissions

Your submissions are the main points and arguments that you wish to present in court. Therefore, they are a crucial part of your case, so it’s important to have your submissions as prepared as possible. To ensure this, write them down in dot point form so that you won’t forget anything on the day, and go through this list with your legal advisor to make sure nothing is left out. If you think you may get nervous presenting your submissions to the magistrate, practice reading them out to a close friend or family member, just as you would practice delivering a speech.