Apart from professional advice on the legal issues in your case, this is arguable one of the most important areas to determine the success or failure of your case.
Depending on the amounts at stake (emotionally and financially), this is an area you should seriously consider getting some independent advice, either professional or from a trusted, but objective, contact.
Evidence can take many forms but the main ones are:
- Written documents – in the absence of any forgeries, this is normally the best evidence. Judge’s prefer documents as documents normally do not lie;
- Witnesses – it is important you consider what witnesses you can rely on to support your case (in this regard see the process below). You will need to take a witness statement from any witnesses you wish to rely on;
- Photographs – similar to documents in that in the absence of faud, photos do not lie;
- Electronic documents e.g. emails or draft documents;
- Videos – similar to documents and photos, in the absence of fraud, videos do not lie.
In terms of a process we suggest:
- You refer back to your case analysis you undertook at the beginning of the case and list all the issues (see our section on ‘Building your case yourself’);
- You list all the issues you can see in the claim and defence e.g. what was agreed in the contract;
- Put all these issues in a table and then in the corresponding column list what evidence you have to support your arguments. This process will not only help you highlight any gaps in your evidence but also help you consider what witnesses can support your case;
- You could also add a further column to list any evidence which does not help your case or supports the case of the other party. Whilst in the absence of a court order to the contrary, you do not need to disclose this evidence in the small claims court, it is nevertheless a useful exercise as it highlights weaknesses in your case. Your opponent may have this evidence also or may seek any order from the court forcing you to disclose it.