October 28th, 2012

If you do have a court hearing and your solicitor is representing at that hearing you should ask about their experience at court. You need a solicitor with mileage. If your solicitor instructs a Barrister, ask what experience the Barrister has in cases similar to yours. Instructing a Barrister does not necessarily mean he/she will achieve a better outcome in court than your solicitor. No doubt a Barrister will know how to present your case but the Barrister would not have lived, breathed and heard your grievance as well as your own solicitor. A lot of putting a case forward is knowing your clients instructions and how to apply it (in court). You should therefore ask your solicitor for a copy of instructions to the Barrister so you know what the Barrister knows about your case. So often, a Barrister attends court and does not know enough about your case and takes instructions from you at court (serious disadvantage – especially if you only have 10 minutes with the Barrister before the hearing). You must therefore ensure that if your solicitor has instructed a Barrister that you have paid well in advance of the hearing for that Barrister to be instructed well in advance – that way there is no excuse. You should also ask for a copy of the instructions to that Barrister.

For an advocate that attends court it would be ideal that he/she knows the answers to the following questions before they even step foot on court soil.

  1. What is it my client wants to achieve?
  2. What is it the opponent wants to achieve?
  3. What is the evidence oral/documentary/inference/circumstantial etc?
  4. What is the law for and against your client?
  5. What are the procedural points (if any)?
  6. How can I achieve the best outcome for my client?
  7. What discussions should take place with my opponent?
  8. What further directions from the court may I require (if any) and can this be agreed?
  9. What order is it I am asking for the court to make?

If you have any questions about the above please feel free to email me on xen@