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How Decisions Are Made


In Supreme Court, a judge or jury listens to both sides, weighs the evidence, and then makes a decision. The decision is made based on “the balance of probabilities.” This means that the judge or jury will make a decision based on the law as well as what is most likely to be true and fair. The person who “wins” a court case is the one who can convince the court that their side of the case is more probable.

Most cases are started with a notice of civil claim, but some types of cases must be started with a document called a petition. You must use the correct document to start your legal action. You do not have a choice about how to start your lawsuit – the Supreme Court Rules describe the correct procedure.

When the person who started the claim (the “plaintiff” or “petitioner”) is successful, the judge awards damages. If the defendant is successful, then the claim is dismissed. In some cases, the judge may also decide to award the successful person with “costs” to help pay for court and/or legal expenses.