Preparing For Trial at The Lower Court
(1) What is a trial?
1.1 A trial is a fact finding process before a magistrate or a judge where a decision is made in your case.
(2) What is a civil claim?
2.1 A civil claim is a legal dispute between two or more parties.
2.2 Examples of civil cliams:
- Damages for personal injuries
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Breach of contracts
- Property disputes
- Landlord and tenant disputes
(3) Can I represent myself?
3.1 Yes, you may represent yourself in court.
3.2 You must consider the complexities and specific issues involved when you decide to proceed without a lawyer.
3.3 As your case proceeds, if you find that representing yourself is too diificult, you may engage a lawyer to
3.4 However, where the amount in dispute is less than RM5000 (Small Claims) you must represent yourself.
3.5 Corporate bodies can only begin or defend a civil action through a lawyer.
3.6 Familiarise yourself with the relevant laws and procedures.
3.7 Keep track of all deadlines for filing and servicing of the documents to the other party.
3.8 Be prepared for trial.
(4) Where to file a civil claim?
4.1 A civil claim should be filed at the relevant court registry. A certain amount of fees must be paid.
(5) What do I do next?
5.1 Once the claim has been filed, you have to serve it to the other party within the specified time.
- Parties must file a bundle of documents and a bundle of pleadings which include among others statement of claim,
statement of defence, counter claim (if any) and reply.
- Parties must exchange between them bundle of documents1 at least 14 days before the trial.
(6) What happens during a trial?
- Plaintiff - a person bringing the action in the court.
- Defendant - the person being sued.
- Plaintiff has the burden of proving his/her case.
- The Plaintiff calls his witness to give evidence during the examination in chief2. This witness will be cross examined by the Defendant and later may be re-examined4 by the Plaintiff.
- The Defendant also calls his witness and has the burden of raising and proving any defences he may have to the claim.
- Once both parties have completed their cases, they will be asked to give their submissions5.
At the conclusion of the trial, a decison is pronounced in open court.
What is a decision?
A decision is a judgement or order which is pronounced immediately at the conclusion of the trial or on some other day. Prior notice to attend will be given to the parties if it is delivered on some other day.
What happens if a party does not obey the court's decision?
An execution order may be applied to the court by the aggrieved party.
What do I do if I am not satisfied with the decision?
You have the right to appeal. For appeals to the High Court, you must file the Notice of Appeal within 14 days from the date of pronouncement of the decision at the registry of the court which delivered the decision.
1. All documents to be referred during trial such as police report, medical report, pictures are compiled in a bundle.
2. The examination of a witness by the party who calls him/her.
3. The examination of a witness by the adverse party.
4. Where a witness has been cross-examined and is then examined by the party who called him/her.
5. The conclusion of all evidence and argument in a hearing or trial