Timeline of Events (Re: Drafting)

From Riverview Group Library Services


Overview

The art of litigation is ultimately the art of story telling. In my personal experience, the person that tells the most internally consistent story is the person who is generally successful in litigation. By internally consistent I mean, the facts that are being described by the party to the action are consistent with the objective evidence available. Evidence alone does not win cases, an internally consistent narrative properly aligned with available supporting evidence such as documents, videos, or audio files, is what wins cases.

The difference between making a case, and defending a case.

Required Documents

Elements of an Incident

  • Date of Event:
  • Time of Event:
  • People Involved:
  • Location of Events (Place):
  • Summary of Interactions (Pleaded Facts):
  • Documents or Other Related Evidence:
The above six elements are required to describe a single incident within a series of events. When I say the incident, I am referring to an event that is restricted to a single point in time. Eg.. eating dinner at night is a single incident within a day. An incident can also be thought of as a single scene in a movie or television show, all the elements of an incident must be present in an explanation of a single incident. If more then one period of time is involved then there is by necessity more then one incident.

Critical Concepts in Timeline Drafting

  • A Cornerstone Event, is a single event that sets in motion the events that playout in the proceeding.
  • Use of Evidence in the storyline, if you want to include a piece of evidence in a hearing you must be able to include the document in the timeline of events.
  • A Stated Term, is a word that is given specific meaning within the drafted document. An example of a stated term would be ... Shaun D. Harvey, B.A ("the author") is the author of this document. As you move forward in the document use stated terms as opposed to pronouns to make it clear to the reader whom you are referring to at any given point in the document.
  • Temporal Space, means a specific time period and physical location where a given set of events or actions takes place. When engaging in legal writing it is very important that the reader is always able to clearly identify the temporal space of the events being described.
  • A fact, is a finding by an adjudicator that on a balance of probabilities, a given representation asserted by a party with respect to a set of events is the accepted set of events that took place.
  • A Submission, is a representation made to an adjudicator or judge that a party of a legal representative poses for the adjudicator or judge to consider prior to coming to a decision.

When Evidence is Required (Re: The Test)

  • The test to determine whether or not to include evidence of a specific fact alleged or otherwise plead within the timeline the drafter must ask:
    • Will the specific fact be challenged or accepted at face value.
    • If a fact will be accepted at face value there is no reason to include evidence of the fact pled. If the fact pled or alleged is likely to be disputed then evidence of the face or allegation will be required to be included.
  • Make sure you update your table of documents as you start to include documents within your time line.