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.
- What is it my client wants to achieve?
- What is it the opponent wants to achieve?
- What is the evidence oral/documentary/inference/circumstantial etc?
- What is the law for and against your client?
- What are the procedural points (if any)?
- How can I achieve the best outcome for my client?
- What discussions should take place with my opponent?
- What further directions from the court may I require (if any) and can this be agreed?
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.