What I Learnt From Going To Court
Yesterday morning, I finally found myself at the local courts for a traffic dispute that had been going on for almost a year. Being my first time in court, I had no idea what to expect… and my nerves were high!
I don’t often find myself in situations that make me very nervous nowadays (perhaps I stay in my comfort zone too much?!)… so when I do, I like to reflect and journal on the experience.
Here are some of my takeaways from the entire court experience.
ONE: Prepare, but be prepared to be flexible
I’d spent a good couple of hours creating a timeline and sequence of events with everything that had happened throughout the last 12 months, leading me to where I was. It was 2x A4 pages long and I’d practiced reading it out loud about 10 times so I could feel prepared.
The night before, I sent the document to my friend Jeremy who later responded with, “Errrrmmmm, Joyce… they’re not gonna let you read anything or say all this. Let’s start again.”
So we scrapped everything I wrote and started from scratch.
TWO: Rely on others who have experience
I had gone in thinking, “It says to be there at 9:30am, so I’ll get there early at 9am, and should be out of there by 10am.”
Jeremy went on to explain the process of how everything would go. “Actually, Joyce, everyone is called in at 9:30am, and you’re all gonna take turns. You’re more than likely going to be there til 3pm.”
Yup… that was exactly what happened!
THREE: Shut up, brain!
Omg… my brain was in overdrive the entire time. Wondering how everything would go… when it would be my turn… what I was going to be asked… how I was going to answer… what would happen if I lost… how much I would have to pay… how long this would all take…
It took constant effort every few minutes to stop thinking about all these things, and consciously tell myself to stay present to help calm my nerves.
FOUR: Be patient and go with the flow
It was an exceptionally busy day, and I ended up being shifted to three different courtrooms in front of three different judges!
What could I do? Just be patient and go with the flow.
I spent the morning in the first courtroom where the judge was slightly on the mean side, but fair, and I listened as he decided the outcome of each case.
After the break I was told to move to the second courtroom. The judge here was so easy going, nice and funny! She even had the court room laughing at times! It definitely helped in calming my nerves, that was for sure.
It was finally my turn to go up – the last person in the room. I was thankful it was with this nice, easy going judge. I walked up to the stand… but then… the police representative for my case wasn’t there so they couldn’t proceed! So off to the third courtroom I go.
FIVE: Breathe! Everything is an experience
I was in the third courtroom now, standing in front of a new judge… ready for my turn. But then, someone else who had a medical emergency had to go in front of me. That’s okay. After all, I’d been there for 5 hours already.
But…. Argggghhh… this judge was NASTY! He questioned the poor guy until he was left speechless… and he didn’t get let off.
I was next. Breathe……….
I reminded myself that everything is just an experience and life happens FOR me. I listed a bunch of things I am grateful for in life, particularly for the amazing Jeremy who was with me this entire time. And I breathed deeply.
My turn. All the preparation went out the window as the judge asked me questions. I answered honestly to the best of my ability… and he gave me the benefit of the doubt and let me off!
Huge sigh of relief!
An experience… but hopefully not one I’ll have to do again anytime soon.