Opening Statement (Small Claims in CA)
A case summary with a summary statement is a concise and to-the-point summary informing the judge:
- The nature of the case.
- What you are intending to prove.
For small claims cases, 10-15+ cases may be scheduled for one court session (court typically have 2 sessions: AM and PM, each lasting around 3 hours). This means roughly 10-20 minutes are allocated for each case, sometimes even shorter. You will be asked to give a copy of your Trial Presentation to the judge for review before your hearing officially starts.
When your hearing starts, the judge will likely approach it one of these ways:
- Ask the Plaintiff to tell them about the case (they may not call it an "opening statement"). Once that's done, they will turn over to the Defendant for their side of the story.
- Review the case materials submitted and jump straight to questioning both the Plaintiff and Defendant.
It's beneficial for both parties to prepare a case summary as it can be a reference when the judge asks for a summary and is present in the Trial Presentation for the judge to review before diving into questioning.
Declaración Inicial (Reclamos Menores en CA)
- La naturaleza del caso.
- Lo que pretendes demostrar.
- Pídale al demandante que le cuente sobre el caso (es posible que no le llamen una "declaración inicial"). Cuando el demandante haya terminado, le preguntará al demandado por su versión de la historia.
- Revise los materiales del caso presentados y salte directamente a interrogar tanto al demandante como al demandado.