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A trial is a process in which parties to a dispute come together to present information in the form of evidence in a formal setting, usually a court, before a judge, jury, or other designated finder of fact, for resolving the dispute.  If the trial is held before a group of members of the community, it is called a jury trial.  If the trial is held before a judge, it is called a bench trial.  A civil trial is generally held to settle a dispute between private parties.

When the parties do not agree to have a bench trial, a jury is selected.  USCS Fed Rules Civ Proc R 38 states that on any issue triable of right by a jury, a party may demand a jury trial by serving the other parties with a written demand which may be included in a pleading.

The jury trial proceedings begin once the jury has been impaneled.  During opening statements, the plaintiff’s attorney explains the nature of the case, addressing the jury.  Thereafter, the defendant’s attorney may offer an opening statement.

After direct testimony by witnesses, defendant’s attorneys may cross-examine the witnesses.  If the defendant has witnesses, they may give testimony, and the plaintiff’s attorneys may cross-examine them.

Finally, both the parties will give a closing argument, summing up the evidence presented.  Thereafter, the judge instructs the jury on the law to apply in deciding the case.

Inside Trial