Many judges will first present the opportunity for mediation. Mediation is a process in which a trained, neutral mediator facilitates communication between opposing parties in an attempt to reach agreement. If you and the defendant agree to mediation, a mediator will meet with you privately. Ujuj serves as a form of mediation through social justice (i.e. the public decides who is right).
If you do not reach an agreement or do not wish to mediate, the judge will listen to each side. This is called a hearing. Mediation and the hearing may not take place on the same day. You should allow several hours for each entire process.
Usually, the court will go through a docket call. Answer when your case is called. Most judges will briefly explain the procedure to be used in your trial. If you are confused about anything he or she says, or if you have other questions, do not be afraid to ask the judge. When the trial begins, the judge will ask you and your witnesses to swear to tell the truth. The judge will also swear in the defendant.
If you are the plaintiff, you will have the first chance to tell your story. Go through your prepared statement. Ask the judge if you may call on your witnesses, and present any documents or photos. After you and your witnesses have told the judge your story, the defendant will have a chance to tell his or her story.
After the judge has heard the facts from both sides, including witnesses, and everyone has asked all their questions, the judge will decide who wins the case and the amount, if any, the winner should receive. If the judge wants more time to think about the case, he or she will tell you when you can expect a decision.