Many self-represented litigants struggle to get the outcome they want because they fail to present their evidence well. Evidence is defined as “the facts used to support a conclusion”. In legal matters, there are two types of evidence:
Evidence should support your claim and help the judge make the decision to agree with your order.
Steps of dealing with document evidence:
Sort your documents according to the issues. Create separate files for each issue. As you gather document evidence, you will find it helpful to create sub-categories for some of the key issues. Whatever works for you – have a system and stick to it.
You and the other party may bring witnesses to court to help prove your case. Witnesses will need to answer questions asked by both parties and the judge. When you call a witness to court you will get to ask questions first. A witness cannot lie when they answer. If they do, there may be serious penalties, such as a fine or jail time.
Who to call as a witness?
A witness should be able to help establish the facts you’re trying to prove. If you have documents you want to present to the court, you may need to have a witness explain them or verify their authenticity. Witnesses can also give evidence on things they heard or saw. For example, if your neighbour told you about seeing a fire in your backyard, you could have your neighbour provide this information in court.
It is important that the witnesses you choose are credible, articulate, and sincere. You can’t tell your witnesses what to say. But it is helpful to review with the questions that you will ask and the information they will provide. It is also helpful to consider what questions the other party or the judge may ask.
Last reviewed: March 2016
IMPORTANT: This page provides legal information, not legal advice. If you need legal advice consult a lawyer.
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