The Claim Procedure

What happens when you submit a claim against someone?

Claim Procedure for Court Members

  1. Registrar accepts claim & Records claim in the court record
  2. Registrar issues and publishes a Claim of Right, media advertising, public notice
  3. Registrar notifies Adjudicator, Claimant and Defendant with an invitation to a mediation meeting
  4. Adjudicator, Claimant and Defendant agree on a time for the mediation meeting
  5. Mediation takes place
  6. If mediation is not successful, Registrar sets a date for a trial, and issues notices to the claimant, defendant, court officials and the Assembly
  7. The Registrar ensures copies of all the case documents are prepared and have all been entered into the record before the trial starts
  8. The Assembly meets on the day set for the trial to choose a Jury, and if any other court officials are required the assembly can vote them in at the same time as well
  9. The Bailiff assembles the court to take their places and swears in everybody involved in the case
  10. The trial begins
  11. The Claimant makes their case, presenting all their evidence
  12. The Defendant rebuts, presenting all their evidence
    • Both sides may have an advisor, either a MacKenzie Friend*, or a Lawyer/Barrister to advise them, but they cannot speak to the Jury or court
    • When passing documents they must slide them face down to the Bailiff, who will then carefully hide them from public view to present them to the Jury, the Adjudicator, or others in the court who may need to see the documents
    • all evidence must be about what the person giving evidence has seen and done
    • witnesses can be called and sworn on Oath
    • the Claimant and Defendant can object to any evidence presented by the other side at any time, and give a lawful reason for the objection
    • The Adjudicator decides whether to admit the objection or not
  13. Throughout the Trial, the Adjudicator ensures that the proper lawful procedures are followed, and clarifies any points of law
  14. The Jury may ask questions at any time about the evidence being presented
  15. Post Presentation of Evidence: Each party presents a final statement to the jury
  16. The jury retires to a separate room to deliberate. They can only return to court with a decision  
    • The jury may ask the Bailiff to provide evidence or ask further questions while deliberating
    • Should the jury need more than one day to decide, the Adjudicator may decide whether a jury can return home for the night, or be sequestered in separate rooms in a hotel
  17. When the jury has reached a decision, they return to court, and the Adjudicator asks the jury if they have reached a unanimous decision. If the jury foreman says yes,  the Bailiff hands the sealed decision to the Adjudicator.
  18. The adjudicator then asks the jury foreman to render the verdict
  19. If the verdict is guilty the adjudicator thanks the jury and adjourns the court so that the adjudicator can research previous cases before recalling the jury who will set the punishment based on the recommendations of the adjudicator and claimant
  20.  Enforcement of the punishment/restitution verdict carried out by Sheriffs
  21. Once all the court business has been finalized, the court is disbanded

* A McKenzie friend assists a litigant in person in a court of law in England and Wales, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia by prompting, taking notes and quietly giving advice. They need not be legally trained or have any professional legal qualifications.

The right to a McKenzie friend was established in the 1970 case of McKenzie v McKenzie. Although in many cases a McKenzie friend may be an actual friend, it is often somebody with knowledge of the area and the presumption is heavily in favour of admitting a McKenzie friend into court. He or she may be liable for any misleading advice given to the litigant in person but is not covered by professional indemnity insurance.