Reviewed March 2019
In this course the presenter outlines a short scenario upon which the entire course is based. It includes the following:
- Your supervising partner has asked you to appear at a directions hearing with a few contested issues.
- You have been working on the file for a while, so you know the basic facts.
- The partner tells you what orders they want you to seek. You have also obtained instructions from the client.
Prior to the hearing
In this chapter, the presenters discuss the key areas of etiquette required to be thought through prior to entering the court room, including:
- Is it okay to contact the Court? If so, how should you go about it?
- Have you filed submissions?
- You’ve been told that the client would like a trial date in January, but the partner says that’s inconvenient for her. She would prefer July.
- What should you do?
- Your opponent provides you with proposed consent orders. Are you obliged to respond? If so, how?
Arriving at Court
In this chapter, the discussion focusses on etiquette when you arrive at court, including:
- What should you wear?
- What do you do when you first arrive?
- What happens if you realise you need further instructions after you arrive at Court?
- Can you ask the Court for more time?
- If in doubt, phone a friend.
Engaging in Discussions
This chapter reviews etiquette principals when discussing the matter with your opponent. It includes the following key topics:
- Should you speak to your opponent? If so, how do you find them?
- What discussions should you have with your opponent?
- Do you need to tell your opponent what you plan to say?
- Your opponent is being aggressive or rude, how should you respond?
The Etiquette of Appearing
This chapter reviews key topics that should keep in mind when appearing in court. These include:
- How do you know when your case will be called on? How are directions hearings prioritised?
- Will the fact that there are some issues in dispute affect when your case is called?
- How do you estimate the time your hearing will take? Courts are busy – give realistic estimates
- What do you say and do when your case is called? How do you make your appearance?
The Substance of your Appearance
This chapter reviews the substance of your appearance and discusses the following key points:
- What does the Judge want to know?
- What if the Judge tells you “I’ve read those, what’s your next point?”
- What is the substantive case about?
- What is your client’s best point in the substantive hearing?
- What do you want from this hearing?
Problems you Might Encounter
Many problems may be encountered during a Directions Hearing. This chapter reviews some examples. Such examples include:
- Should you tell the Court both the strengths and weaknesses in your case, or just the good points?
- Your client has asked you to tell the Court something that isn’t true. Should you follow your instructions?
- What if you don’t know what to say?
- Don’t “wing it”
- Be frank with the Court
- I’m not ready to proceed – I need a short adjournment.
- What if you’re in Court when a matter you don’t expect is called on?
- Do you argue only the good point?
- Be realistic in your argument
- Do you really need 6 points with 2 sub points each?
- Good advocates make realistic concessions
- Draft Orders
- Reasons for decision?