When You Present

Last Reviewed: April 2022 Reviewed by: JES Download
  • Breathe: Stand up at the podium. Take a second and take a deep breath.
  • Speak slowly: You need to speak at a pace that the judge can follow. Watch the judge. If they are taking notes this is good. If they are writing something, let them finish before moving on. If they are not taking notes, it may be that you are going too fast for them to keep up with.
  • Speak to the judge or master: Your job in Court is to tell the judge or master your story. Everything you say should be directed at him or her. You do not speak directly to the other side.
  • Speak loudly: Make sure that the judge can hear you.
  • Follow your notes or your outline: Generally, it is a good idea to go through the submissions you have practiced and outlined first. You can address anything unexpected that the other side said at the end.
  • Answer the judge’s questions: If a judge asks you a question, try your best to answer it. If you cannot answer it, you may ask if you can come back to it after a break, if there is enough time. Sometimes you get a question that you will need to think about over the lunch break to answer fully. If you say you are going to come back to something, make sure you do.
  • Speak formally: Talk in a respectful and formal way. Call people Mr. X or Ms. X, rather than by their first names (For example, say “Mr. Jones has provided no evidence” instead of “John has provided no evidence”) Do not use slang. Do not swear.
  • Take notes: Record key points of what the opposing party says. At the end of the hearing, the judge or master may give their decision. When they do this take notes. Take notes even if you do not like what you are hearing. You want to know exactly what they ordered and exactly why.

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