Regardless of how minor or serious your offence is, if you are pressed with a charge you will encounter a court mention. A court mention, which is also often referred to as a directions hearing, is your first interaction with the court. The main role of a court mention is to allow the court to guide your case and instruct both you and the other party on what needs to be done next. For example, upon a court mention, the court may direct both parties to attend alternative dispute resolution.
Court mentions in a criminal matters vs civil matters
- In a criminal matter, court mentions generally have the purpose of finding out whether you want to plead guilty or not guilty
- In a civil matter, a court mention is used to help the case progress further along. For example, the court will generally form a timetable that clearly instructs the parties on when they may need to request to move a matter to another court or exchange evidence.
What is a further court mention
A further mention, also known as a subsequent mention, refers to any subsequent mention that is arranged following the first court mention. A further mention occurs in circumstances such as when:
- Clarification is till required for an issue in dispute
- Mediation attempts have failed
- There has been no compliance with what the court has instructed (eg. not all the documents requested were provided)
What happens at a court mention
At a court mention, the court can make a wide array of orders to the parties involved. Such orders can include:
- Filing a defence
- Hearing preliminary issues (eg. requesting documents to be produced)
- Exchanging evidence
Preparing for a court mention
It is very important that you come prepared and are well versed when it comes to your case when you attend the court mention. It is worth seeking advice from a lawyer upon your court appearance as this will help manage your case. The most important things you should be accounting for before attending your court mention varies from:
- Knowing your matter: You should be able to summarise the dispute you are in
- Knowing what you seek: You should know the circumstances of your compensation ( eg. whether it has been predetermined) and what you really want out of the matter. If you know what you want the steps to be, you should formulate a timetable that you can present to the court.
- Know the court: You should be aware of the procedures and protocol of the court and know that the system differs from court to court.
Court mentions are the first time that you will make an appearance in court despite the magnitude of your offence. The process of preparing for your court attendance can be very scary. This is because the court process can sometimes be a long winded one that has many stages. As a result, it is very important that you come to court very well prepared and ready to present your case in a way that will work in your favour. This is why seeking professional help from a lawyer can make the process much easier for you.