The 6 Trial Fundamentals

Trial is storytelling in the unique setting of a Courtroom.

The process of preparing for and conducting a trial is simply one of gathering, processing and presenting information.

The following trial fundamentals guide the trial process:

1. Story

Every trial needs a compelling story. People love a good story. The story must convey a persuasive message to justify an end result. Some call this notion the theory of the case.  The story has to be credible and make sense.

2. People

Witnesses convey the story to the Jury and Judge through oral testimony based on questions and answers. Witnesses must be credible for the story to be believable.

3. Documents and Things

Documents such as contracts and correspondence (letters, emails, texts, etc.) are part of the story. Written records are often found to be very reliable compared to witness memories, which fade over time. Things/objects can become evidence.

4. Law of Evidence

The law of evidence governs the admissibility of witness testimony and exhibits.  Evidence must be introduced properly and be relevant.

5. Trial Procedure

Knowing the rules of trial in terms of trial procedure such as Jury selection assists in the effective presentation of cases.

6. Substantive Law

The substantive law of what needs to be proven to advance or defend a case is sometimes complex and sometimes not. It is usually based on a common sense approach to right and wrong. The law in Ontario is based on legislation and Judges’ decisions.


For an in-depth review of how to leverage the 6 trial fundamentals to prepare and conduct trials, please check out trial book HOW TO WINg A TRIAL.

This article is courtesy of the Ontario Civil Trial Manual

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This manual is trial information, not trial legal advice.

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