As a litigant-in-person, you will be handling all your own court documents, paperwork and correspondence, as the case progresses. The more prepared and organised you are, the more confident you will be in understanding the facts of your case, presenting it in an efficient way and following the procedures required of you. So stay ahead of the game by maintaining meticulous records:
Prepare a chronology
Write up a synopsis of the relevant facts of your case and set them out in chronological order. You can use a list or table format and make a reference to any relevant documents that relate to the events listed. If your case proceeds to trial, a chronology will provide the judge with a helpful summary of the claim and give an overview of the key facts and background circumstances of the dispute.
Maintain a contacts sheet
For ease of reference keep information sheets listing the full contact details of everyone connected to your case.
Keep copies of everything you have
Make a duplicate file containing copies of all your original documents. Arrange everything in chronological order and make copies of everything you send to the court or your opponent in addition to the documents you have received.
Maintain court or attendance notes
When attending any court hearing all lawyers take careful notes of the date, what was discussed or agreed, any directions given by the judge and dates by which things need to be done. Litigants-in-person should follow suit and keep careful records of all court appearances and significant meetings.
Keep a diary to record all important dates and deadlines
Include dates of court attendance, any mediation appointments, and details of deadlines for serving/filing documents and directions of the court. Make a note of all relevant conversations and record what was discussed, including any offers to settle you have either made or received. Having a diary at hearings or mediation sessions will allow you to easily confirm the sequence of events, dates or conversations.
Keep a separate indexed file of evidence
Create an index system to list and put in order any evidence you intend to rely on as part of your case. This can be invoices, receipts, photographs, contracts, letters and copies of emails etc. This will help you become familiar with your evidence and help you locate it easily.