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After the Complaint has been issued and the defendant has drafted the Answer or other responsive pleadings, the pre-trial stage of the litigation process begins.
In most jurisdictions, both parties are then permitted to engage in a series of procedures (known generally as the process of Discovery) during which they may seek further details about the opposing party's case. In Discovery, each party may ask written questions (known as interrogatories) to which the other party must respond in (1 p.) and under (1 p.) . Each party is also permitted to ask questions in person to the other party and their witnesses to which the other party must also respond under oath. These questions and answers are often transcribed into documents called depositions that can then be used at the trial for a variety of different purposes.

The basic purpose of this period of discovery is to avoid situations where either party might be unfairly surprised at the actual trial by the introduction into evidence of some evidence or by the testimony of some surprise witness about which they were unaware.

The Trial

The trial stage begins on the date set in the court’s calendar which has been fixed and is known by the court, as well as all parties in any way involved with the litigation.
The trial date is important because it usually marks the end of the formal pre-trial discovery period. All discovery must be concluded by this date. This means that both parties must have completed all of their depositions, interrogatories, requests for admissions, etc., as well as any other formal requests for information by this date. The trial date is usually also the deadline for making any motions or other formal requests for rulings from the court (1 p.) to the start of the trial.

Jury Trial

In any jury trial the first step is the selection of the jury. (1 p.) are selected (usually by the clerk of the court) from a pool of local citizens. Each party is also permitted to remove a limited number of potential jurors even without a showing of prejudice or other cause. The entire jury panel will consist of between six or eight and twelve persons. This group (now typically referred to as a petit jury) is given an oath. Once this process is complete (often known as empanelling the jury), the formal part of the trial begins.
During the trial the jury will (1 p.) the claimant’s case and the defendant’s case. During the stage of cross-examination each witness is questioned by the lawyers representing the opposing (1 p.) .

Before the jury begins deliberations in the case, they are instructed by the judge as to the law that they will apply in the case. Then the jury leaves the courtroom to discuss the case and (1 p.) their verdict. The jury's deliberations take place in secret. When the jury reaches their decision, they then report their (1 p.) to the trial judge which is not final until it has been formally approved by the trial (1 p.) .


After the judgment of the trial court has become final, the case may be sent to an (1 p.) court for further review. This process is known as an appeal. Although either party may bring an appeal to challenge some ruling that was made by the trial court, usually an appeal is only brought by the party that actually lost in the trial court proceeding.

The party who brings the appeal is called an (1 p.) and the party against whom the appeal is brought is referred to as the (1 p.) . An appellate court decision can affirm (i.e. (1 p.) ), reverse (i.e. (1 p.) ) or modify the decision entered by any lower court. The decision of the appellate court is (1 p.) on all lower courts.