Most people feel nervous before a final hearing. Mercian Law can assist with providing an advocate to attend with you to present your case. Attending the hearing gives you the opportunity to tell the judge what has happened.
Small claims and possession claims are usually heard in the judge’s chambers. The judge will have read through the papers in advance of the hearing. The judge will be formal and will require evidence to be given on oath (I swear that the evidence that I shall give, shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God) or affirmation (I solemnly affirm that the evidence that I shall give, shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth). There is no fixed agenda on how the judge will deal with the claim, so be prepared to be flexible.
If your case is allocated to the fast track, notice of the trial date will be sent to you no later than 21 days before the trial is due to start. It is important that all witnesses are available to attend the trial. Fast-track trials can be heard either in a courtroom or in the judge’s chambers. Either a district judge or circuit judge will hear the case.
Usually, the claimant’s case and witnesses are heard first then the defendants. Once all the evidence has been heard the judge will usually tell you their decision, but they may reserve their judgment. An Order confirming the judge’s decision will be posted to you.
All witnesses must attend the final hearing if the judge has given permission for their evidence to be given orally. If a witness is unwilling to come to the final hearing. Mercian Law can assist with issuing a witness summons. The summons has to be issued at least 7 days before the final hearing and served upon the witness at least 4 days before the final hearing.
You will be responsible for the travel expenses and compensation for loss of time in attending court, of each witness. These are fixed amounts and cover:
Giving evidence in person, rather than by witness statement, helps the judge decide whether or not that person is telling the truth. Civil cases are decided on the ‘balance of probabilities’, this means that if it’s more likely than not that you are telling the truth then the decision will go in your favor. Unless it absolutely cannot be avoided, always attend hearings because just relying on a witness statement doesn’t carry as much weight.
The court’s decision
Usually, the judge will make a decision and explain their reasons at the end of the hearing. An order will then be made and posted to you.
Even if you win your case, it doesn’t mean that you will get paid.
If you didn’t instruct Mercian Law to prepare your case for final hearing, we will need from you: