6. What are opening and closing submissions (including list of authorities)?
Opening submissions are documents submitted to the Court by the parties before the commencement of the trial. The Court will usually give directions on timetable of lodging and service of the Opening submissions at the PTR.
The purpose of opening submissions is to give the Court an introduction of the whole case before the Judge hears or receives evidence. It shall generally outline:
- Background of the case;
- The issue(s) of dispute between the parties that require the Court’s adjudication;
- The applicable legal principles involved in the case;
- An introduction of the witnesses and evidence to be produced to the Court at the trial; and
- Any other special features in the case (if any).
By contrast, closing submissions is a document submitted to the Court after the Judge had heard and received all the evidence. So its timing of lodgement and service will be directed by the trial judge at the trial.
The purpose of closing submissions is to persuade the Court to rule in your favour. It shall generally contain:
- The analysis of the evidence produced to the Court at the trial, including your arguments on why the Court shall believe in your case or rule in your favour on an issue in dispute;
- Your arguments on how the law shall apply to your case (based on the evidence produced to the Court); and
- The Order(s) that you invite the Court to make.
When you are discussing the legal principles and their applications thereof mentioned in your opening and closing submissions, you may draw reference to the authorities such as case law, ordinance or academic books and articles. In that case, you shall separately make a List setting out all the authorities you had cited and relied on in your submissions, and lodge the List with the Court together with your submissions. The said List is called List of Authorities.