In any judicial trial or court hearing, the first step to road towards the proceedings of the case is put forward by the lawyer known by the term opening statement. Here all the base facts and events which have occurred are presented in front of the court; the jurors and the judge himself / herself watches over this statement to proceed with the case. Even though the opening statement has to present all the relevant details of the case, however in some cases the jury might know a little about the case already. In such scenario, judge strictly advises the jury to put their previous knowledge of the case and solely rely on the opening statement and the proofs which might be presented at a later point in the hearing.
Opening statements are really important since nuts and bolts of the case are enclosed within and have to be presented with extreme care since one small statement mistake can lead a case from this side of the river to the other. According to majority of lawyers, an opening statement is considered the most crucial and sensitive phase of any case for lawyers of both sides; the favoring and the opposing.
On a broader perspective, opening statements have a number of purposes for being made, one of which is already described above as being the part to inform the court, jury and judges about the happenings of a specific case. This is like a preview of a movie or a book, where the audience is told what this case is all about and what are the problems the court might be looking forward to be solved and what might be the possible scenarios which can occur during the hearings of this case. This also allows the jury and the judge(s) to correlate proofs and statements of people later on with the problem, since they will have the knowledge of the case situation already in their view (presented by opening statement).
There are a few things which are to be noted while preparing an opening statement to present in the court. First of all, one has to devote enough time to this and do enough homework prior to show up in the court for presenting the opening statement. Opening statement has to be very much based on all the facts and no assumptions are to be included in this document.
The major portions of an opening statement are commonly known by the terms as: Introduction, Parties Involved (where there can be individuals or group of people; whichever applicable should be mentioned accordingly), The Scene, Issue, The Events that happened, Claims (such as being guilty or not, liable of something or not etc.) and the physical conditions including the time of an event, complete date and even weather in some cases is also the requirement. Other important parts of an opening statement are the main body where everything is described in detail and finally the conclusion where the expectation from the court or the claim from the lawyer is mentioned regarding the case.
Here is preview of a Free Sample Opening Statement Template created using MS Word,