How Courts Work

Steps in a Trial


Motions are not pleadings but are requests for the judge to make a legal ruling. Some of the most common pre-trial motions include:

  • Motion to Discover. A motion by which one party seeks to gain information from the adverse party.
  • Motion to Dismiss. This motion asks the court to dismiss the suit because the suit doesn’t have a legally sound basis, even if all the facts alleged are proven true.
  • Motion for Summary Judgment (sometimes called motion for summary disposition). This motion asks the court for a judgment on the merits of the case before the trial. It is properly made where there is no dispute about the facts and only a question of law needs to be decided.

>>Diagram of How a Case Moves Through the Courts
>>Civil and Criminal Cases
>>Settling Cases
>>Pre-trial Procedures in Civil Cases
>>Jurisdiction and Venue
>>Pre-Trial Conferences
>>Pre-trial Procedures in Criminal Cases
>>Bringing the Charge
>>Arrest Procedures
>>Pre-Trial Court Appearances in Criminal Cases
>>Plea Bargaining
>>Civil and Criminal Trials
>>Officers of the Court
>>The Jury Pool
>>Selecting the Jury
>>Opening Statements
>>Direct Examination
>>Motion for Directed Verdict/Dismissal
>>Presentation of Evidence by the Defense
>>Final Motions
>>Closing Arguments
>>Instructions to the Jury
>>Jury Deliberations
>>Motions after Verdict

How Courts Work Home | Courts and Legal Procedure | *Steps in a Trial*
The Human Side of Being a Judge | Mediation