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I started a claim against a photography company that failed to attend our engagement party and refused to pay us back.

Last week I received a letter from the court saying that our claim is allocated to the small claims track. In the letter it stated:

Each party must deliver to the other party and to the court office copies of all documents on which that party intends to rely at the hearing no later than 4pm on 27th October 2015.

I sent all the documents to both the court and the counter-party.

Today is 28th October 2015 and I still haven't heard from the other party.

I am not a law student and never been to court before.

I was wondering what steps to take.

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Go to the scheduled hearing and present your complaint. Apparently the defendant will present no documents in court.

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That's what the court said: "Each party must deliver to the other party and to the court office copies of all documents on which that party intends to rely at the hearing no later than 4pm on 27th October 2015."

If there is an important document that you rely on that you didn't send to the court and your opponent, then you cannot use it in court. Even if it proves 100% that you are right, you can't use it.

If there are any documents that your opponent plans to rely on in court, the court will ask them if they sent it to you in time. And since they didn't, they can't use these documents. They didn't send you anything, so there are no documents they can use in court.

What do you have to do? Nothing. There's an old saying "never interrupt your opponent when he's making mistake". Not sending you any documents is a big mistake. You don't want to draw their attention to it.

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Short Answer

Remember to actually object when in open court!


If they show up and try to use documents they didn't send you by the deadline, you might have to actually object in court and state your reasons. It depends on the judge how formal s/he will make you be given you are pro se. However, I have seen instances where a pro se litigant didn't speak the words "I object" soon enough and the other side got away with stuff they shouldn't have.

Don't assume the judge will behave like your attorney.

In this case, you should be prepared to make the objection yourself. When they try to introduce documents, you should interrupt immediately, before the evidence is allowed by default. Now is not the time to "be polite" and "wait your turn."

Otherwise inadmissible evidence can be wrongly admitted if you don't object soon enough. That's one thing lawyers get paid for... knowing when and how to object to the other side's introduction of inadmissible evidence.

Also, don't feel guilty that you are getting away with something unfair because of a technicality. There are good reasons for these rules and deadlines. It's so everyone can have enough time to prepare and make their best case in court. So the trial can be fair to everyone. Trial by ambush is never fair.

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