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At court hearings, where the plaintiff (or their lawyer) is given time to present their case, is it common for them to do it with an actual on-screen slide show presentation (like at a conference)?

Are there any rules or nuances about that?

(Any jurisdiction).

  • Any? Some jurisdictions like the rules of 17th century church court in France don't even allow non clergymen to speak unless asked directly. And under La Terreur your presentation could contain word combinations that would demand your execution.... – Trish Jul 23 '20 at 9:21
  • On a more serious note, the there are legal systems outside the US, where rules of the court might be entirely different. For example, many Courthouses worldwide lack the needed infrastructure for digital presentation, some counties demand all evidence to be present physically or as photographs so they can be put to the evidence in a tangible form. Others don't allow a "presentation" and there is no Jury,as it's a system based on Civil Law, not Common Law – Trish Jul 23 '20 at 9:29
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Yes, what you're describing is very common.

There is an entire industry built around helping lawyers prepare and assemble presentations for opening and closing arguments. I've seen people use PowerPoint, timeline software, and all sorts of things. Google "trial presentation vendors" for examples.

2

Typically, a court presentation to a jury has multiple parts.

First, the jury is selected and there are showmanship aspects to it, but simple questions are used.

Then, each side presents opening arguments to the jury which may use AV aids.

Then, each side presents witnesses and through the witnesses, exhibits. Sometimes exhibits are presented in an AV format as support for witness questioning and the extent to which this is done varies greatly. Sometimes short videos are present as evidence.

In Colorado, where I practice, almost all documentary evidence in federal court (except where the authenticity of a physical piece of paper is at issue) is required to be presented to the jury in an electronic form displayed to jurors on screens designed for that purpose in a recently completed, ultramodern court house. In courts of limited jurisdiction handling smaller claims and misdemeanors, AV presentation of evidence is almost non-existent and paper copies of exhibits in juror notebooks (usually short ones) are used. In state courts of general jurisdictions that handle state felonies and larger civil claims including all real estate disputes and virtually all personal injury cases, AV presentations are more common in urban counties than rural ones and in higher stakes disputes than in lower stakes more pedestrian cases, and overall AV methods are used to present actual evidence in maybe 10%-20% of cases, usually by a large law firm, or boutique law firm (i.e. specialized high end firm similar to a department of a large law firm) in a high stakes case.

Then, each side presents closing arguments, which may use AV aids.

Then, the jury is instructed by the judge and charged to deliberate.

The trial court judge has broad discretion to allow or disallow the use of AV aids that is pretty much unreviewable and must grant parties permission to do so (usually orally in a pre-trial conference rather than with express permission sought in a written motion), although it might be an abuse of discretion to disallow the presentation of a video clip or audio clip that is otherwise admissible evidence in an AV format. Some judges, even within the same court handling the same kind of case with the same lawyers on each side, would have differing levels of comfort with this mode of presentation.

  • What about bench (judge-alone) trials where the judge would have already seen written submissions and all the evidence? – Greendrake Jul 13 '20 at 3:34
  • @Greendrake Generally speaking, the sequence of events presented in an evidentiary hearing or bench trial is identical to that of a jury trial. AV aids are much less common in bench trials, but many judges now prefer to receive exhibits in electronic format rather than on paper. The judge would almost never have seen all of the evidence in advance of a hearing in U.S. practice, although sometimes there would be trial briefs limited to legal issues in advance of a trial. – ohwilleke Jul 15 '20 at 3:25
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Cases are presented in writing well before any trial

Here is the [Uniform Civil Procedure Rules]1. Pleadings are at part 14 and particulars are in part 15. We don’t get to trial until part 29.

Anyone who starts trying to present their case in the hearing has already lost. In fact, there will never be a trial - the register will reject the submissions on commencement or the defendant will have got summary dismissal long before a trial date is scheduled.

  • 1
    Even though written submissions are made before any court hearing, still, at the hearing, the parties are given time to stand and speak, right? This may not be called "presentation" of the case but it happens however you call it. The question is exactly about it. – Greendrake Jun 12 '20 at 7:07
  • @Greendrake no, the hearing is for testing evidence over disputed facts – Dale M Jun 12 '20 at 7:10
  • 29.6(2): "The beginning party may make an address opening his or her case and may then adduce evidence.". So the alternative word to "presentation" is "address". Also note that all evidence can be given in advance by way of affidavit, and there may be no questions of fact to dispute: only questions of legal consequences of those facts. – Greendrake Jun 12 '20 at 8:00
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    @DaleM It seems to me the OP is asking about presenting a party's case with respect to the disputed facts. – bdb484 Jul 12 '20 at 18:43

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