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How to Prepare for Your First Court Appearance or Mediation

Posted by M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola | Oct 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

If you are appearing in court with your lawyer or going to mediation for the first time, you may not be sure what to expect. Depending on the nature of your case, attending court or a mediation could sound stressful or intimidating. With a little information, you can make your appearance less stressful.

Who, what, where, when, and how

For your first court date or mediation, ask your lawyer:

  • Who will be attending
  • What you can expect and what to wear
  • Where to be, including the building, courtroom or other location
  • When to be there, and if you need to be early
  • How to act – do you need to speak to the mediator or stand when the judge walks in?

The answers to all of these questions will help you feel more comfortable, arrive on time, and behave appropriately before the court or mediator. In many legal situations, there may be specific rules that first-time litigants do not know. Your lawyer can help you learn the basics of making a court appearance.

Do you need a lawyer?

If you do not have a lawyer to speak to about court or mediation, now may be a good time to find one. A lawyer will represent you and speak for you before the judge, making legal arguments based on his or her experience and knowledge. In a mediation, a lawyer can negotiate a settlement or your behalf with the help of the mediator. Most people will find it extremely helpful to have someone on their side when going to court or mediation for the first time.  If you do not have a lawyer, then you can take a family member or a friend, called a ‘Next Friend' with you to help you.

In addition, if you do not have a lawyer or Next Friend, you will have to speak to the judge or mediator on your own behalf.

What is next?

Depending on the reason for your appearance in court or at mediation, your case may continue after the first appearance and you may be required to attend court for several more days until the case is resolved. If you are not able to resolve the case in a mediation, your case may then go to court. Your lawyer will be able to advise you about what happens next.

To find out more about court appearances and mediations for your legal needs, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.

About the Author

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola is a civil and commercial litigation attorney and an accredited civil and commercial mediator. Margaret has over 21 years' experience in legal practice in the United Kingdom, Jamaica and The Bahamas.


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