The Judiciary




The Role of the Judge

     Your case will be heard and decided by a judge or a magistrate. Keep in mind that the role of the judge/magistrate is to be an impartial referee in the dispute between you and the opposing party. Among other things, this means that:

  • The judge may not help you present your case. Helping you - by pointing out possible mistakes or by letting you know what you need to do next - would be unfair to the opposing party. When you represent yourself, you take on the full responsibility of presenting your case.

  • The judge may not speak with you about your case when the opposing party is not present. This is true even if the issue you want to speak with the judge about seems like a simple procedural question. Again, such communications would be unfair to the opposing party.

  • The judge will decide the case on the basis of the facts presented in court and the applicable law. The judge may only consider the facts as they are presented in court, through evidence and testimony. You need to make sure that all facts supporting your case are properly presented. The judge also needs to follow the laws that apply. Sometimes the law dictates which facts the judge may and may not consider. You need to make sure that you present the facts that the law requires or permits.