Skip to main content

Can I read from pre-written opening and closing statements. I know I am not supposed to but can judge disallow?

Van Nuys, CA |
Filed under: Lawsuits and disputes

This is a limited non-jury trial. Is it better to ask for court's permission to read or just present it without asking?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

If your question is whether you can present your opening statement and closing argument by reading them off of a sheet of paper (instead of presenting them from memory) then the answer to your question is that there is no need to ask for the court's permission before reading from your "pre-written" notes. I hope this helps.

Mark as helpful

2 lawyers agree

Posted

The better practice, in my opinion, is to timely submit a written trial brief.

I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference

Mark as helpful

1 lawyer agrees

Posted

In a bench trial you are likely to find that the court feels strongly that s/he does not need either an opening statement or a closing argument.

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

Mark as helpful

Posted

Reading a pre-written opening is fine. The closing will depend largely on the facts elicited at trial. The real issue is that by reading your opening may be less effective as you lose the connection with the judge. If possible you should prepare an opening brief for the court and have an outline of what you want to say in your opening statement. This way, you can engage with the judge and if you forget to make a specific point it is included in your written product.

Mark as helpful

Lawsuits and disputes topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics