A motion is a request for a judge to issue a ruling on a specific problem. The process for scheduling hearings on a motion can vary depending on whether the case is being heard in federal court or in state or local courts. In general, however, the process of choosing a date involves a few key steps.
Contact the Relevant Court
In most cases, a Court Coordinator (or someone with a similar title) is responsible for setting up court dates on the court’s docket. Contacting this individual is often a good place to start when scheduling a hearing on a motion. County courts may also post a court calendar that lists the available dates for hearings and trials. Checking on the available dates for your civil hearing can streamline the process of choosing one that will work for you.
File Your Request
Depending on the procedures of the specific court in which your hearing will be held, you’ll need to provide the Court Coordinator with some information, which generally includes the following:
- A brief but clear description of the type of case and the nature of the proceedings. For a hearing on a Motion for Summary Judgment, for instance, you’d list “a Motion for Summary Judgment” in the description.
- A request for a specific date or dates.
- An estimate of the amount of court time required to hear and rule on your motion. It’s wise to overestimate the time you think you’ll need to a small degree. This will prevent the hearing from running over its allotted time and then needing further court appearances.
- Your signature on the request for a hearing on the motion.
- Your contact information and the contact information for the opposing counsel or the other party.
You’ll be responsible for notifying the Clerk of Court, the opposing parties, and any other involved parties of the date of the hearing once it has been set. You’ll also need to provide a copy of this notification to the Court Coordinator.
Some jurisdictions allow the small claims clerk of court to put the hearing on the docket automatically. If this occurs, you may not be able to choose a specific date for your hearing. If the hearing is scheduled for a day on which you or the opposing parties cannot attend, you may need to request a continuance for your hearing.
In most cases, you’ll have to pay a filing fee for your request for a hearing. The amount will vary depending on the venue. You may also qualify for a waiver of these fees if you cannot afford to pay them.
It’s important to remember that requesting a specific date does not guarantee that your case will be heard on that date. It’s also not a good idea to try to schedule a hearing on a date that you know the opposing parties won’t be able to attend. This usually results in a request for a continuance and even more time taken out of your schedule on a date that may be less convenient for you.
Additionally, some courts only hear certain types of cases on designated days. If your case falls into this category, you may be required to choose a day and wait until your case is called, which could be at any time during the day designated for your type of legal motion.
Attend Pre-Trial Conferences
Some requests for a hearing on a motion may require pre-trial conferences to establish dates that work for the judge hearing the case, the parties to the case, and the courthouse schedule. If this is required, you may not have significant control over the exact date of your hearing. All parties will have a say on when the hearing will take place.
If you’re representing yourself in a civil action, you can often find out how to schedule a hearing on a motion by contacting the court in which you expect your case will be heard. The court clerk or Court Coordinator will typically give you more information on how to proceed and on the proper method to have your hearing scheduled. This added information can ensure that your request for a hearing date goes as smoothly as possible and that you can achieve your goals in the legal system.