If you are the defendant, what should you ask your lawyer?
What happens if you are the defendant in a case? What questions should you ask your lawyer?
. Scale of Charges
The most important question you must ask is ‘how much are you going to charge me before trial, and during trial? How much are you going to charge me if the other side files an interlocutory application against me? How much are you going to charge me for appeals before the trial is over?’
Also ask, ‘When do I have to pay? Can I stagger the payments? How much work will you do for the amount of fees that I pay? Will there be extra charges?’
Make sure you get a scale of charges so that you have an idea of where you are going.
. Is the Plaintiff’s claim out of time? Has limitation period set in?
. What defence do I have?
. Have you filed the Memorandum of Appearance? Can I have a copy?
There is a document that you have to file called the ‘Memorandum of Appearance’ that shows the court that you are going to fight the case.
. Have you filed the Statement of Defence and Counterclaim? Are all the points I told you there?
Help him with the defence.
. Pre-trial preparation
When the case is coming up for trial make sure you are available at your lawyer’s office at the earliest possible moment.
Do not rush there 24 hours before trial and expect him to do a miracle. Get there six months before trial. Explain to him how to defend this case. Give him all the documents that are necessary.
Bring that or you might say ‘I think in cross-examination we have to ask this question. Why don’t you ask him about these things? You know he had a conversation with me orally in this place. He said this. Do you think we should ask him this question?’
Make sure you participate in the defence of your case. Don’t just go to your lawyer tell, him a story and go home and sleep.
You can’t do that you have to be active.
. What documents do you want from me?
. ‘Should we file for discovery’
You might ask him this question if the other side has got some documents.
You may say, ‘they may have some documents that may be necessary for ourselves. Should we go and get these documents from the Plaintiff? Should we get it from third parties? What should we do before trial?’
. What other points do you think are relevant for this case?
Would you like to listen to my story?
Half the time the lawyers will cut you down and will not let you tell your side of the story. At the end of the trial, they might ask you why didn’t you tell me this, why didn’t you tell me that.
Then you might say ‘Oh I thought it was irrelevant.’ So, if there’s something important tell him everything.
. You must really tell your lawyer everything especially the points which are against you
This is absolutely crucial otherwise you may get caught and lose an application or the suit and be forced to pay a large amount of legal costs.
. When the judgment is out, ask for a sealed judgment
Where there are only grounds of judgment, ask for a copy.
These are the important points that you have to ask your lawyer if you are a Defendant.
Ask all these questions. Any lawyer will be happy to answer you.