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Opening the trial:  This is begun by the claimant’s representative, who explains the essence of the case and gives the judge a general idea of the papers and the evidence that will be brought. It will be explained to the judge which evidence is disputed and which is agreed. The judge will have had an opportunity to read some of the papers beforehand to already have some idea of the issues that must be decided.

Claimant’s evidence: All the witnesses for the claimant will then be called in turn, including any expert witnesses such as doctors or engineers. If there are a lot of witnesses, this stage can take a long time.

Defendant’s case: The defendant will then have the opportunity to call their own witnesses, who may be as numerous as the claimant’s, so this again can be a lengthy process.

Closing speeches: Once all the evidence has been heard, the barristers on each side sum up their arguments and have a final attempt to persuade the judge of their side’s case.

Judgment: The judge may decide the case immediately. In complex cases, the judge may go away and think about the decision and so the parties will assemble in court again at a later date to hear the judgment given. Once the judgment has been given and any damages to be awarded have been calculated, the barristers put forward their arguments as to who should pay the costs of the case and the judge then decides on that issue.