Going to Court Alone?

If you are going to court unrepresented, it is likely that you will have to deal with the other side’s barrister. Barristers are highly trained lawyers who specialize in appearing in court. They can be intimidating, but it is important to remember that they are just doing their job.

Here are some tips on how to deal with the other side’s barrister at court:

  • Be prepared. The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to be intimidated by the other side’s barrister. This means knowing your case inside and out, and being able to answer any questions that they may ask. It is also a good idea to practice your answers in advance.
  • Be polite and respectful. Even if you disagree with the other side’s barrister, it is important to be polite and respectful. This will show the judge that you are a reasonable person.
  • Be clear and concise. When answering the other side’s questions, be clear and concise. Avoid using legalese or jargon, and make sure that you are easy to understand.
  • Do not interrupt. It is important to let the other side’s barrister finish their questions before you answer. This shows that you are listening and that you respect their right to put their case.
  • Be honest. If you do not know the answer to a question, it is better to say so than to make something up. The other side’s barrister will likely be able to tell if you are lying, and this will damage your credibility.
  • Do not argue with the barrister. If you disagree with the barrister, it is important to remain calm and polite. Do not get into an argument with them. If you do, it will only make you look bad in front of the judge.
  • Take breaks. If you need to, take a break during the hearing. This will give you a chance to collect your thoughts and to prepare for the next round of questions.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Be prepared for the barrister to object. Barristers may object to your testimony if they believe that it is inadmissible or irrelevant. If the barrister objects, the judge will decide whether or not to allow your testimony.
  • Be prepared for the barrister to ask you leading questions. Leading questions are questions that suggest the answer. For example, the barrister might ask you, “you saw the defendant hit the victim didn’t you?” This question suggests that the defendant did hit the victim, even if you have not yet testified to that fact.

If you are representing yourself in court, it is important to remember that the barrister is not your friend, but they are not your enemy. They are there to represent their client to the best of their ability.

Here are some additional tips for dealing with the other side’s barrister if you are representing yourself in court:

  • Dress professionally. This will show the judge that you are taking the case seriously.
  • Arrive on time. This will show the judge that you are respectful of their time.
  • Be familiar with the court rules. This will help you to avoid making mistakes.
  • Be organized. Have all of your documents ready and in order.
  • Speak slowly and clearly. This will help the judge and the barrister to understand you.
  • If you do not understand a question, ask the barrister to clarify it.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for help from the court staff.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or intimidated, you can also ask the court for permission to have a McKenzie Friend with you. A McKenzie Friend is someone who can provide support and advice to you in court, but they are not allowed to speak for you in court.

Our view at Anvil Chambers is that having a barrister with you at court in Kent is almost always the best option. So whether you are in Canterbury, Dartford, Medway, or beyond, contact clerks@anvilchambers.co.uk for legal advice and representation