When beginning your claim, the idea of appearing in court may seem a distant reality. In fact, it may not happen at all as the majority of cases settle before trial. However, if your claim does take you all the way to trial, it is best to be prepared for the experience of attending court for the first time.
Attending court for the first time can often seem a daunting experience for clients. However, it is not as scary as it first seems and the aim of today’s blog is to show that with the proper legal support guiding you through the process, you will be prepared and ready for your trial.
For the majority of people, court rooms are associated with TV crime dramas and intimidating historic buildings which make the idea of being in such an environment rather daunting, but it needn’t be. All court staff will be accustomed to assisting first-time attendees and will be happy to help you with directions or any other questions you may have upon your arrival. So what can you expect upon your arrival?
Once you enter the majority of court buildings, you will be directed to airport security style bag scanners before reaching the front desk. Whilst every court is slightly different, around this area you will find listings of every hearing taking place that day and their location within the building. Signposting will then allow you to navigate your way to the waiting area outside the appropriate courtroom, however, staff will be happy to assist as well. It is always best to arrive at court early to allow time to find your way around, especially in larger courts. You can discuss an appropriate time to meet with your solicitor.
There are, of course, ways you can prepare for your attendance in advance which will make you feel more comfortable and at ease on the day of your trial.
The courts and tribunal finder website is run by the government and provides the full address and contact details of all courts in England and Wales. The website also contains details of the facilities available at each court, such as the nearest public parking or whether there is access to a hearing loop. If you have a special requirement this information will allow you to plan in advance and therefore feel more relaxed on the day.
The trial will decide the outcome of your claim, and as such, you will of course be nervous on the day. You may therefore prefer to have a friend or family member attend court with you. Whether this is to arrive and wait with you for the trial to start or to sit and watch proceedings from the public gallery, moral support will help you feel more comfortable. It is important to remember that attending court is not something you will do alone, your legal team will also be fully prepared and by your side.
And finally, talk to your solicitor. Your legal team will be happy to address and questions or concerns you may have about your trial, whether related to the legal issues or the logistics of attending, allowing you feel relaxed and able to focus on your claim.
This article forms part of a series written for the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) ‘Ask the experts’ blog. As a Gold Corporate Partner of the SIA you can rest assured that we are legal experts in spinal cord injuries. We have many connections in the Spinal Injury world and have a great deal of experience and success in gaining appropriate compensation for our clients who have sustained a cord spinal injury. Follow our #spinalinjuryjourney on Twitter.