Representing yourself at the Tribunal or in Court can be daunting enough without also having to deal with the ‘dirty tricks’ that the other side might play. Some dirty tricks to watch out for are:
The preparation of a joint bundle:
The other side may remove your evidence from the joint bundle at the last minute (without telling you or obtaining your consent), in an effort to suppress your damning evidence against them- be prepared to make an application to the judge to order them to put it back in.
If you sent any evidence to them by post they may also claim that it wasn’t in the package, so always scan your evidence and send it to them by e-mail as well if you can and be sure to get them to confirm receipt.
Exchange witness statement simultaneously with the other side to ensure that they don’t get an advantage over you. Get written confirmation from them by e-mail that they are ready to exchange and then exchange the documents via e-mail.
Trying to ‘trip you up’ on the witness stand:
- The other side may deliberately misstate some of your the evidence that you have previously given, (orally or otherwise) and then try to get you to agree with their version of events. They do this to confuse you.
- When you are being questioned by them be sure not to let them ‘put words in your mouth’.
- They will also try to ask your questions very quickly in order to help them achieve this aim and confuse you more.
- Do not be rushed, and if necessary, just speak extra slowly in order to control the pace of the questioning.
- They may also ask you the same question many times, asking it in different ways to try to get the ‘Ye’s or ‘No’ answer that they are after.
- When questioning you at rapid speed, they will even try to associate the answer you give to a different question to what you intended. When you try to correct this, it will make you seem like you are confused, unsure or even lying!
- Under these circumstances, don’t take the bait and simply don’t say anything.
- When the other side stops questioning you like that you can then give your answer so that it is clear what question your answer is in response to.