and trial calendars in Georgia courts are strange mechanisms. The following is a brief explanation as to how a trial
calendar works to the extent it can be explained.
trial calendar is a numbered list of cases that a court has scheduled for trial
during a given period. A trial calendar typically lasts for 2 weeks. They are sometimes 1 week and sometimes 3 weeks.
Rarely any longer. If your case is not tried during the trial calendar it will
be placed on a trial calendar during the next month or as many as 6 months
calendars typically contain many cases, sometimes as many as 60 or more and
rarely less than 20. That means
that there are 20 to 60 or more sets of lawyers, plaintiffs, defendants, and
witnesses waiting, just like us in your case, to have their case heard.
case has a place on the calendar. Your
case may be first, 17th, or 49th on any given calendar.
Generally the first case on the calendar will be tried and then the judge
will move down the trial calendar list.
if your case is the 43rd on the trial calendar that does not mean that your case
will not be tried. And if your case is 5th on the calendar it does not
necessarily mean it will be tried. Obviously
if your case is first on the calendar it has a very high likelihood of being
tried. However, nothing binds a
judge to follow the order of cases on his trial calendar.
A judge may try the 7th case on the trial calendar before the 5th case.
This often happens if the projected length of a trial fits into the
remaining time on a trial calendar.
if a case is not tried during a given trial calendar it will receive a higher
position on the next trial calendar. However,
this is not always the case. Generally
a case that has been pending for a longer time will have a higher place on the
are often misunderstood. Continuances
may only be granted for cause. This
essentially means that if a subpoenaed witness, attorney or party is not going
to be available for trial due to illness or otherwise, a postponement to a date
later in the trial calendar or to another trial calendar can be obtained,
otherwise a continuance will not generally be granted.
sometimes are on more than one trial calendar in different courts at a time.
In such circumstances the attorneys are supposed to notify the courts and
the opposing lawyers of the potential conflicting trial schedules.
There are rules which govern which case is to be tried first. These rules are detailed and beyond the scope of this
document, it is sufficient for these purposes here to understand that your
lawyer may have another case to try or the opposing lawyer may have another case
to try which causes your case to be tried later during the trial calendar or to
be postponed to another trial calendar.
is very common for many cases on a trial calendar to end in settlement,
continuance, or otherwise not be tried during a trial calendar. Courts place many cases on a trial calendar because they know
that many of the cases will not be tried for one reason or another.
This is one of the reasons a case that is far down on the trial calendar
may be reached during a trial calendar.
a case is on a trial calendar, you, your lawyer, the opposing lawyer, and all
witnesses are sometimes placed on as short as a 2 hour call.
The parties, attorneys, and witnesses in each case are not asked to wait
while the higher cases on the trial calendar are tried, but you are expected to
be ready to try your case essentially on a moment's notice when the court is
ready to try your case. This is one
of the most difficult aspects of trying a legal action. You, your attorney, and the witnesses must spend hours
preparing for trial, subpoenas must be issued, extensive preparation is
necessary, and the typical result is that your case is not reached for trial and
is put off to the next trial calendar. This
is one of the most frustrating examples of the "hurry up and wait"
problem known in our culture. However,
this is the system and we must live with it until it is improved.
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