THE MOCK TRIAL DAY
TRIAL STEP 1
Court Clerk: We will now hear "The Case of Lady Buckingham".
All rise for the Honourable Judge Laurel Moore. (THE JUDGE ENTERS AND SITS.)
Judge: Will the plaintiff's lawyer, John Stafford please make his opening statement to the jury?
John Stafford Plaintiff's Lawyer: presents his opening statement (2mn maxi).
Judge: Will the defendant's lawyer, Thomas Coolpeper please make his opening statement to the jury?
Thomas Coolpeper Defense Lawyer: presents his opening statement. (2mn maxi).
Opening Statement: Plaintiff
To inform the jury of the nature and facts of the case.
Argument, discussion of law, or objections by defense attorney or defendant are not permitted.
Name of the case + Your name + Client's name + Opponent's name
A description or story of the facts and circumstances that led to the case.
A summary of the key facts that each witness will be bringing out during the testimony and the importance of any documents to be introduced.
Conclusions and request for relief.
Too much detail. It may tire and confuse the jury.
Exaggeration and overstatement. Don't use such phrases as “prove it to a mathematical
certainty” or “prove it absolutely beyond question.”
Argument. It violates the function of the opening statement (which is to provide the facts of
the case from your client's viewpoint), and you risk rebuke from the bench.
Anticipating what the defense attorney will say.
Walking or pacing. It distracts juries and irritates judges.
Opening Statement: Defense
To deny that the prosecution or plaintiff has a valid case and, in a general way, to
outline the facts from the standpoint of the defendant. Interruptions by prosecution or plaintiff
are not permitted.
Your name and your client's name + General theory of defense + Facts that tend to weaken the plaintiff's case + A rundown of what each defense witness will testify to + Conclusion.
Repetition of facts that are not in dispute + Exaggeration and argument + Strong points of the plaintiff's case + Walking or pacing. It distracts juries and irritates judges.