File documents for use in a simplified civil trial (from 1 Apr 2022)
This page describes the simplified trial process for cases begun by an Originating Claim (OC) and heard in the Magistrate's Court or the District Court where all parties consent to the application of the simplified civil process.
Familiarise yourself with all the affidavits of evidence-in-chief you have filed.
Prepare a list of questions to ask your witnesses and the other party's witnesses.
A bundle of documents contains the documents that you will be relying on or referring to in the course of the trial, including any documents that are exhibited in the AEICs of all witnesses.
If you are the party who filed the claim (the claimant), you must file the bundle of documents within timelines directed by the court.
The contents of the bundle of the documents should be agreed on between all parties as far as possible. If parties are unable to agree on the inclusion of certain documents, the documents on which agreement cannot be reached should be included in separate bundles.
Each of the separate bundles should be filed by the party that intends to rely on or refer to the documents in these bundles at the same time as the main bundle of documents. Only documents that are relevant or necessary for the trial should be included in the bundles.
An opening statement is a written summary of your case and the issues to be decided by the court, both of fact and law.
This enables the judge to appreciate what the case is about, and what the judge is to look out for when reading and listening to the evidence that will follow.
Opening statements also help to clarify issues between the parties, so that unnecessary time is not spent on trying to prove what is not disputed or irrelevant.
How to prepare
Each party will have to file and serve their opening statement on the other party before the trial.
In the case of the claimant, the statement must include the following: (i) a summary of essential facts indicating which, if any, are agreed; (ii) an indication of how these facts are to be proved, identifying relevant witnesses and documents; (iii) a summary of the issues involved with cross-references as appropriate to the pleadings; (iv) a summary of the claimant’s case in relation to each of the issues with references to the key documents relied upon, and a summary of the propositions of law to be advanced with references to the main authorities to be relied on; and (v) an explanation of the reliefs claimed (if these are unusual or complicated).
The character of the other party’s opening statement will depend on the circumstances of the case. However, it should, generally, state concisely the nature of their case on each of the issues to be tried and summarise the propositions of law to be advanced with references to the main authorities to be relied on.
A party’s opening statement is subject to a page limit of 25 pages, unless the Court has allowed the page limit to be exceeded.
When to file
You should file your opening statement within the timelines directed by the Court.
A bundle of authorities contains the authorities or cases, statutes, subsidiary legislation and any other materials that you intend to rely on at trial.
Only authorities which are relevant or necessary for the trial should be included. If you are relying on any authority at the trial, you must file and serve the bundle of authorities on the other party within thetimelines directed by the court.
If you are not relying on any authority at the trial, it is not necessary to file a bundle of authorities.
How to file
You may choose to file the documents personally or through a lawyer. If you are represented by a lawyer, the documents will be filed by your lawyer.
You must notify all your witnesses of the trial date and the courtroom allocated for the trial. If your witness does not attend court, their affidavits you have submitted as evidence-in-chief may be rejected by the court.