Preparation for the Hearing

Civil Claims Video: A Successful Day in Court

This Civil Claims Video: A Successful Day in Court is an excellent video by the Canadian Bar Association, Alberta Branch, which will help you understand how to prepare for the hearing.

Prepare Your Evidence

The following outlines the kind of evidence which may be needed to prove your case:

Contract
If you are suing on a contract you have made, you must prove:

  • that there was a contract;
  • what the details of the contract are;
  • how the contract was broken by the defendant; and
  • the exact amount of money you are suing for and how you arrived at that amount.

The most important evidence would be a written contract. A person who was present when the contract was made would be helpful as a witness.

To show why you are suing for a specific amount, you can use evidence such as cancelled cheques, receipts, or bills.

Motor vehicle accident

If you are suing because of a motor vehicle accident, you must prove:

  • that the accident happened,
  • the identity of the driver and/or owner of the car;
  • how the accident happened and who caused it; and
  • the reason for the amount you are suing.

Your testimony and that of a witness can help prove that the accident happened and how it occurred.

Finally, to prove why you are claiming an amount of money, you should have more than one estimate of the cost of repair if you have not yet had the car repaired. If the car has already been repaired, you must have the bill for the work done.

If you are claiming for any other amounts such as towing charges or medical costs, you must have these bills as well.

Debt

If you are suing for a debt, such as an unpaid loan or a bad cheque, you will need to prove:

  • the debt exists;
  • the amount of the debt; and
  • the debt is unpaid or only partially paid.

Anything you have in writing, such as an IOU, the bad cheque, or a letter will help to prove your case. Also, a person who was present when the transaction was made or who heard the defendant say that money was owed to you would be a benefit as a witness.

Return of damage/security deposit

If you are suing for the return of a damage deposit, you must prove:

  • a deposit was made;
  • the deposit was not returned or only partially repaid; and
  • the condition of the premises when you moved in and when you moved out.

A cancelled cheque or receipt will help prove that you paid a deposit. In and Out Inspection reports (damage lists) and witnesses will help to prove what damage was or was not caused by you.

Documents

The documents you use in court should be originals. If you only have a copy, be prepared to explain to the judge why you do not have the original.

It's strongly suggested that parties exchange all documents they intend to use in court before the appearance date.

Photographs

If you plan to use photographic evidence, the photographs must be verified by the photographer, who must also testify as to when the photographs were taken. Any photographs should be taken as soon as possible after the event took place.

Hearsay Rule

Hearsay evidence is second-hand evidence given about something which another person has seen or heard. The court requires that only people with a personal knowledge of events be brought as witnesses.

Written statements of anyone not present in court are unlikely to be accepted because the parties who made them cannot be questioned further.