Trial Advocacy: What Do Judges Need?

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In Lawyers Weekly (September 4th edition), Cristin Schmitz writes that a strong litigator provides judges with the tools they need to decide in their favour. This includes a clear description of the law along with a thematic organization of the evidence.

To clearly describe the law and the evidence, a lawyer must know her case well. Justice Martin recommends preparing a chart that identifies:

  1. the remedy the client is seeking;
  2. what needs to be proven; and
  3. every piece of evidence in support of it.

Justice Martin encourages litigators to say: “Here is the law. The evidence on A is this. I invite you to find the following fact BECAUSE and give reasons.” The judge has to provide reasons so help the judge get there.

Justice Rowbotham adds that judges do not need every decision on point. They need to know what the Supreme Court said, what the appellate court said, and what judges of their own court said. “Pick your six cases and go with it.”

Justice Rowbotham adds that when writing a factum use an overview paragraph. The paragraph should state what the appeal is about, how the trial judge allegedly erred, and the requested remedy.

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