Preparing for Court
- Read over all of your documents. Be familiar with all the documents that you and the other side have submitted to the Court.
- All parties in a court action must be given proper notice of all pending matters and hearings. Make sure you deliver a copy of each document or piece of information that is filed or delivered to the court to the other party. It is your responsibility to do this in most instances, not the court's. Failure to provide notice of a hearing or to give the documents to the other party could delay your case.
- Review and research the statutes, rules or procedure, and case law that apply to your type of case. You need to be prepared "legally" for court. The Court will require you to follow the same rules and procedures that an attorney must follow.
- Often it is helpful to observe another case similar to yours in the same court at some point before your hearing date so that you can see how the court conducts its proceedings.
- Gather all the papers you want the judge to see. Make several copies to take to Court. The court may not be able to consider all of your information if it is not properly presented to the court as required by court rules. For information on how to properly admit documents and testimony into evidence at trial, see the Indiana Rules of Evidence and the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure. You may also want to review Tippecanoe County Local Rules to see if any of them apply to your case.
- Decide who you want to testify in Court on your behalf. Remember, in Court, you cannot tell the judge what someone else said, so if you need that statement introduced in Court, the person who made the statement needs to testify.
- Write out your questions in advance. Go over your questions with your witnesses ahead of time. This will prepare both you and them for the actual hearing.
- Create an outline or a brief summary of your side of the case. It may be helpful to prepare a brief list of your main points so you will be sure you state all that is necessary.
- Don't Miss Your Court Date! Court is not an appointment that can be missed or rescheduled. If you miss your court date for a criminal case, a warrant may be issued for your arrest. If the hearing is not a criminal matter, you will likely lose the case by default. If you have a serious reason why you cannot go to court on the assigned day, please contact the court in advance of the date. Some of the courts in Tippecanoe County require you to request a schedule change in writing.