Plain Guide to Litigation: The hearing and subsequent matters

5. Inspection

The Land Court may well wish to inspect the property involved in the dispute. This is usually done at the end of the hearing but may be fitted in at some other stage. The emphasis is on practical convenience. The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that the court has fully understood, or can fully understand, the evidence and to allow the court to make its own assessment on any matters falling within the scope of its expert jurisdiction. It is not an occasion for hearing new evidence. The Court is frequently content to inspect unaccompanied if parties are agreeable and if the Court is satisfied that it will not be necessary to have witnesses present to identify any particular features spoken to in evidence. If the Court does ask to be accompanied it will normally wish to have a representative from both parties. Certainly, it will not want to have a representative from one side without giving the other an opportunity to be represented.

If the area to be inspected presents any difficulties of access, you should consider whether it will be necessary to provide specialised transport for the court e.g. boat or all-terrain vehicle. Any known hazards should be pointed out to the court staff in advance.

At inspection the court will engage in normal polite chat but do not be surprised if they discourage conversation. An inspection is not the time for new information or new argument to be put to the court. Any conversation should not be about the case. If the court wishes specific items to be pointed out they will ask. But usually the court will have a good idea what they want to look at and there will not be much need for talk.

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