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Failure to attend trial

1. (1) Where an action is called for trial and the parties fail to attend, the trial magistrate may strike the action off the trial list.

    (2) Where an action is called for trial and a party fails to attend, the trial magistrate may

(a) where the plaintiff attends and the defendant fails to attend, dismiss the counterclaim, if any, and allow the plaintiff to prove the claim;

(b) where the defendant attends and the plaintiff fails to attend, dismiss the action and allow the defendant to prove the coun­terclaim, if any; or

                      (c) make any other order that is just.  

Judgment given in absence of party may be set aside

2. (1) A magistrate, on an application by the affected party, may set aside or vary, on terms that are just, a judgment obtained against a party who fails to attend the trial.

(2) An application under this rule shall be made within fourteen days after the trial.

Adjournment of trial

3. The Court may, if it considers it necessary in the interest of justice, adjourn a trial for a time and on terms the Court considers appropriate.

Order of giving evidence

4. (1) The case of the plaintiff shall be opened by the plaintiff giving evidence on the plaintiff's own behalf or in the case of a representative action, on behalf of the person the plaintiff represents.  

(2) The defendant may cross-examine the plaintiff if the defendant chooses to do so.  

(3) The plaintiff shall after giving evidence call the plaintiff's witnesses if any who shall give evidence in accordance with Order 26 and who may be cross-examined and re-examined.  

(4) When the plaintiff finishes calling witnesses the Court shall enquire from the plaintiff whether that was the end of the plaintiff's case and on an affirmative answer record this fact in the Record Book as the close of the plaintiff's case at that stage.

         (5) Where the defendant elects to adduce evidence, the defendant may after the close of the plaintiff's case, open the case of the defendant and give evidence on the defendant's own behalf or on behalf of the parties the defendant represents, if any.

         (6) The plaintiff may cross-examine the defendant if the plaintiff elects to do so.

         (7) The defendant may also call witnesses who may give evidence and be cross-examined and re-examined.

         (8) When the defendant finishes calling witnesses the court shall enquire from defendant whether that was the end of the defendant's case and on an affirmative answer record this fact in the Record Book as the close of the defendant's case at that stage.

         (9) Where the parties are not represented by lawyers the court may adjourn the case to a date for judgment.

        (10) Where the parties are represented by lawyers the lawyer may address the Court before the judgment is given.

Where written pleadings not filed, or parties are illiterate

5. Where written pleadings have not been fl1ed, or the parties or any of them is incapable of understanding the effect of the written pleadings with sufficient accuracy,

(a) the preceding rules on the order of proceedings at the hearing shall be varied by the Court as far as is necessary; and

(b) the defendant's statement in defence, if the defendant does not admit the whole cause of action, shall be heard

(i) immediately after the conclusion of the plaintiff's statement of claim and the grounds for the claim, and (ii) before any witnesses are examined unless the Court directs otherwise.

Disallowance of vexatious questions in cross-examination

6. The magistrate may disallow a question asked in cross-examination of a party or a witness which appears to the magistrate to be vexatious and not relevant to any matter which it is proper to enquire into in the cause or matter.

List of exhibits

7. (1) The clerk of the Court shall take charge of every document or object put in as an exhibit during the trial and shall mark or label each exhibit with

(a) a letter or letters indicating the party by whom the exhibit is put in or the witnesses by whom it is proved. and

(b) a number, so that all the exhibits put in by a party or proved by a witness are numbered in one consecutive series.

(2) The clerk of the Court shall cause a list to be made of all the exhibits in the action, and a party may, on payment of the prescribed fee, have a certified copy of that list and any documentary exhibit.

(3) The list of exhibits when completed and any documentary exhibit shall be attached to the pleadings and shall form part ofthe record of the action.

(4) For the purpose of this rule a bundle of documents may be treated and counted as one exhibit.

Custody of exhibits after trial

8. (1) An exhibit tendered at a trial shall be kept in the registry of the trial Court until the period limited for appeal has expired and where an appeal is made after the trial, the exhibits shall be forwarded to the High Court with the record of proceedings.

(2) An exhibit shall not, except by order of the Court, be given to any party or taken out of the registry before the expiration of the time limited for appeal or until the appeal has been heard and disposed of.






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