An opening statement is a concise and to-the-point summary informing the judge:
- What the case is about.
- What you are intending to prove.
For small claims cases, 10-15+ cases may be scheduled for one court session (court typically have 2 sessions: AM and PM, each lasting around 3 hours). This means roughly 10-20 minutes are allocated for each case, sometimes even shorter. You will be asked to give a copy of your Trial Presentation to the judge for review before your hearing officially starts.
When your hearing starts, the judge will likely approach it one of these ways:
- Ask the Plaintiff to tell them about the case (they may not call it an opening statement). Once that’s done, they will turn over to the Defendant for their side of the story.
- Review the case materials submitted and jump straight to questioning both the Plaintiff and Defendant.
It’s beneficial for both parties to prepare an opening statement as it can be a reference when the judge asks for a summary and is present in the Trial Presentation for the judge to review before diving into questioning.
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NEED HELP WITH YOUR JUSTICE JOURNEY?
The quest for justice is never easy, particularly when it comes to getting your money back. However, thanks to advances in technology, it has become easier. Quest for Justice’s first app, JusticeDirect, is the only app of its kind designed to support people without lawyers resolve their dispute and get their money back, both in and out of court.
The first step to getting money back is through a letter demanding payment from the other party JusticeDirect offers customizable demand letters for free. If the letter demanding payment does not work, then the next step is taking them to court.
JusticeDirect* will guide users every step of the way through the small claims court process by helping them:
- Understand the legal process;
- Evaluate the pros and cons that come with taking someone to court;
- Generate small claims court forms; and,
- Avoid common mistakes when filing your forms and serving notice on the other side.
*Currently, JusticeDirect can only help litigants sue in California’s small claims court.