Part 2 of our 3 part series on – What Happens at Court? (read Part 1 here)
Your Day in Court – Part 2
Your barrister informs the Court that there are some preliminary objections to some of the Affidavit material filed by your former partner. There is some legal discussion that goes on about particular paragraphs of Affidavits being ‘struck out’. Eventually, you get started.
You hear your name called. As the Applicant, you are first to go in the box. You go to the witness box and are sworn in, taking an oath or affirmation. Your barrister addresses you at the bar table, standing. S/he asks your name, occupation and whether you swore/affirmed on Affidavit on X date and you respond. She asks if there are any errors in your Affidavit, to which you respond. Your barrister then sits down.
It is then 10:57am. The Judge notes the time and adjourns the matter for the morning tea break until 11:20am. You go to speak to your solicitor and they remind you that as you’re giving evidence, they cannot speak with you. They tell you to be back at Court by 11:15am at the latest.
You and your support person leave the Court and get a coffee at the café nearby.
At 11:20am, you are seated in the witness box. Your solicitor and barrister, your former partner’s solicitor and barrister are all seated at the bar table, waiting for the Judge to come back onto the bench, namely resume his/her seat. You hear three knocks on the door and everyone stands and the Judge walks back to the bench.
Your former partner’s barrister stands and begins to cross examine you. Some of their questions confuse you, and some make you angry. You’ve been prepared by your team, but in the witness box you are on your own and feel under pressure.
You are cross examined rigorously until 1:00pm, being the lunch break, at which time Court is adjourned until 2:15pm. You go and have lunch and cannot speak to your lawyers or witnesses as you are still under oath.
You return to the witness box at 2:15pm and continue to be cross examined until 3:30pm, at which time your former partner’s barrister concludes cross examination. Your barrister stands and informs the Court that they wish to re-examine you. Your solicitor has previously told you that you can’t give more evidence in reexamination but that your barrister may want to ask clarifying questions arising out of cross examination.
You are asked three questions and you respond. Your barrister tells the Judge that they have no further questions. Your supporting witness is then sworn in and cross examined. At 4:00pm, the Court is adjourned. Your supporting witness has finished giving their evidence. You can talk to them again.
It has been a long day in Court. You are tired and want to go home, but you need to de-brief with your team.
You ask your solicitor and barrister, ‘How did I do? Did it go okay?’, to which they offer words of encouragement and support. Now it’s time to go pick up the kids from the baby sitter and then plan to be at Court the next day at 9:30am. You think to yourself “This is a very draining process. I wonder if there is a better way?”