What is evidence? 

Evidence is information you provide the Court to prove your case. There are different kinds of evidence, the most common are:

  • Oral testimony
    A person comes to Court and answers questions in Court.
  • Documentary evidence
    These records include copies of documents, contracts, cheques, invoices, letters, receipts, repair estimates, photographs or videos, printouts of any e-mails or other electronic messages, copies of transcripts of any voicemail messages, or any other materials that relate to the action. If you choose to display text messages or e-mails on your personal device, such as a cell phone, the Court may keep the device until the end of the appeal period as an exhibit. 
  • Electronic evidence
    Includes materials not in paper, such as flash drives, videos or recordings.

Requests for special requirements such as hearing assistance, voice amplifiers, television or video equipment must be made on the Courtroom Audiovisual Request Form at least 30 days prior to the trial. You should contact the Alberta Court of Justice Office in advance to confirm procedures.

What is the Hearsay Rule?

Hearsay evidence is second-hand evidence given about something which another person has seen or heard.

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

All parties must exchange all documents and records they intend to use in Court prior to the trial. This helps to promote settlement and assists in preparing for trial.

Documents used in Court should be originals. If you only have a copy, be prepared to explain to the Justice why you do not have the original. You should also bring copies for the Justice and the other parties.

How can I prepare and organize my evidence?

Often at trial, you will need to prove two key points:

  • Liability: You must prove that the other party did something wrong.
  • Amount: You must prove the amounts owing.  For example: It is not enough to prove that your roof leaked. You have to prove the work completed by the roofing company was not done properly and what it would cost to repair the damage.

Review your Civil Claim and try to break down each of its elements and decide what evidence you will use to prove each one.

Listed below is a sample worksheet that may assist you in preparing your evidence.  

NOTE: This is for guidance only and is not intended to be legal advice.

Example:  Suppose your Civil Claim was for damages to your property:

“ABC Roofing Ltd. put a new roof on your house at #1 Elm Street, Edmonton, AB on August 23, 2018.  The roof leaked and ABC Roofing Ltd. is refusing to fix it.  Due to the leak your chair and carpet were damaged.  You had to hire another roofing company to fix the leak.”

You could prepare a worksheet like this to keep track of your facts & evidence:




ABC Roofing Ltd. put the roof on my house


Signed contract with ABC Roofing Ltd and invoice marked "PAID"


The roof leaks


Photos taken by me and on date______


The leak was caused by roofing companies poor workmanship


Evidence of building inspector or roofer


It will cost $1,250 to repair the roof


Estimate from DYI Able Roofers


The leak caused damage to my carpets and chair


My own testimony and Photos taken by me on date_______


It cost $135 to clean the carpet


Invoice from Quick Carpet Cleaners


It cost $479 to replace the damaged chair


Bill of sale from Furniture Mart

a) Cost of replacing chair

$ 479.00

b) Cost of cleaning carpet

$ 135.00

c) Cost of repairing roof

$ 1,250.00


$ 1,864.00

It will be easier to refer to your documents at trial if you have them neatly organized. A good way to organize your documents is to keep them in the same order as on your worksheet.

In addition to reviewing your claim, you may also want to:

  • review the Dispute Note and any other documents that have been filed or provided to you by the other parties;
  • gather the records or documents you need to prove your action and organize them in logical order; 
  • contact the witnesses you want to bring to Court (see section on Witnesses);
  • plan the testimony that you will give in Court. Usually you are not able to read from a prepared statement;
  • plan the questions you want to ask your witnesses; as well as questions you want to ask the other parties’ witnesses; and
  • arrive early on the day of the trial.

If you are well prepared, you will be much more relaxed on the day of your trial and you will be able to present your case to its best advantage.