HOW CAN YOUR BARRISTER HELP YOU AS A LITIGANT IN PERSON
INFORMATION ON WRITING A POSITION STATEMENT
Important Note: Please note that this information is not intended to be legal advice. You are advised to seek legal advice.
This information provides an overview on writing a position statement.
The importance of a well prepared position statement
The court needs to know what you want and talking your barrister will help you clarify your legal/evidential position in respect of the application, to discuss your needs with you and talk you through your case, the other party’s case and what the court may or may not order at every stage of the court process.
Attending court can be daunting prospect as litigant in person but having your barrister at your side during the preparation process should ease that uncertainty and get you focused on managing your case and presenting your case.
Your barrister can help you by ensuring that your case is well-prepared, and you are clear in your mind that you understand what you need to do and what should happen at that hearing.
Your barrister will work with you. It is important that you are well-prepared in order to present your case at its best and help you write the most effective position statement for that hearing.
Use your position statement to put your best case forward
A strong and clear position statement is the most important tool used in family proceedings for a litigant in person to get your case across to the court, you outline the issues and your evidence as to why the court ought to grant you the outcome you want.Your barrister can help you with this.
It is always in your best interest, to get your strongest case to the Judge, and whilst providing a position statement is not obligatory, there are circumstances when the court will direct that both parties provide one to see what issues the court needs to determine. Your barrister can help you with this.
Your barrister will advise you from reading your case, the key issues, which the court needs to determine to enable you to get the favourable outcome that you want.
Your barrister will help you identify the key evidence, which supports your case, evidence which the court should know about that undermines the other party’s case and why its important for you to get further information that supports your case and get the information from the other side or a third party e.g. police reports.
It always helps that you put forward your strongest case and in a manner that the Judge finds factual, can identify the issues, has a good structure and gets your point across by stating why the court should give you the outcome you want. Your barrister can help you with this.
During the course of the court hearing, the Judge will often want more information from you on the points that you made in the position statement so do not think that the statement has to be an essay. It is preferable to keep comments factual and short and to the point in order to not distract from your strong points in the position statement.
Your position statement should not be used as your evidence. It is important to highlight key evidence that you want to put before the court such as recordings or need to get from a third party such as police reports and medical reports so that the court can make an order before the final hearing and in some case avoid further hearings, because it may be that you can get what you want.Discussions with your barrister when preparing your position statement is often hugely beneficial to getting what you want.
Position statements should not include evidence, that is what you want to say, that normally comes in preparation of final hearing and in the form of a witness statement. The court will generally request that evidence be filed separately, and it will form part of a witness statement.Your barrister can help you identify what should go in which statement.
The advantage of good position statement
Your barrister advising and helping with the preparation of your position statement is a very important advantage. A well-prepared position statement is a strong tool, it sets out your case and it is always used as the basis for negotiation and often settles a case without the need for a final hearing, saving you time and more importantly costs.
As well as providing a copy to the Judge, it is also recommended that you have a copy to hand whilst in the court hearing. Going through court can be an emotional and strenuous process and although you may feel ready to say what you wish to say in the lead up to a court hearing, it may be a different story once you are standing in front of a Judge. It is important to have a position statement in front of you, therefore, as you can always refer to it if you lose your train of thought.
The second advantage of having your barrister’s advice to help you write your position statement is that the Judge almost always will read it prior to the hearing and therefore will be aware of the situation, the outcome you wantand most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to put your case to the Judge before the hearing.
Your barrister will provide you with the layout; more importantly identify and advise you on the content of your position statement, as the content is crucial. It is the content of your position statement early in a case that is crucial for the preparation of a final hearing. With your barrister’s advice, you can set the tone and direction and the opportunity to put your strongest case forward to get the outcome you want at the final hearing.
Although it is recommended that you submit the position statement to the Court and other party well in advance of the court hearing, in practice there should be no issue with submitting it on the day of the court hearing to the court and also to the other party. Even on the day of a final hearing, your position statement is a valuable tool in getting the most favourable outcome, that can be used to settle the case even at the door of the court.
Chambers of Helen Alexander-Direct Public Access-Family Court Barrister