There are many times when we are due to show up in court yet aren’t able to do so owing to many reasons.

In such circumstances, it is essential to know how to reschedule a court dateHere are 2 simple ways to do so:

How to Reschedule a Court Date Before the Day of Hearing

Step 1: Have a purpose to reschedule. As in all legal matters, everything requires evidence, proof, reason, and logic. Thus, before you can ask for an adjournment in court i.e. postponement of the court date, you must have a solid reason to do so. The reasons can be some or multiple of these. You:

  • Don’t have an attorney representing you yet and need more time to search for one.
  • Cannot make it to court because you are ill, bed-ridden, hospitalized, or have any other medical emergency.
  • Will be traveling and out of town on the date in question, and thus cannot make it to court.
  • Have another court hearing on the same day.
  • Have an important witness in your case who is not available on the day, without whom your case cannot be fought. Opting for this reason, however, is a difficult one since it requires submission of an affidavit stating the importance of the witness in the case, why the witness is unavailable, etc.

Having a valid reason to get a postponement increases the probability of a rescheduled court date.

Step 2: Contact the office of the court clerk well in advance of the day of your hearing. This should ideally be 5-7 days or more, before the prescribed date of your hearing.

Step 3: Ask the duty counsel how to reschedule a court date. Different courts have different procedures of getting an adjournment. Make sure you understand the procedure described to you.

Step 4: Get the required paperwork. You may be asked to fill in some forms that can either be retrieved from the courthouse or downloaded off the internet. These forms shall ask for details about your case, reason for adjournment, etc. On the other hand, some court clerks might also consider the request for an adjournment via a simple faxed letter explaining the situation. Remember to include the following in your letter:

  • Name of your Case
  • Docket Number
  • Prescribed Trial Date

Step 5: You can choose to drop off the form/letter at the courthouse yourself. Or opt for another option i.e. the fax. Obtain the fax number of the courthouse, write an official letter of request, and fax it. If you don’t have a fax machine at home, you can easily find one in a shop charging a nominal fee to send a fax.

Step 6: Await the court’s notification. Even though you may have filed for a postponement of your hearing day, it is all tentative until the court grants your request. Await the court’s phone call, letter, or any other form of notification with a new prescribed day of hearing after you have submitted the required documents. In case you do not hear back from the court, call them again for an update of your case. A new date will be assigned to you.

However, if you still do not get a response, the next method of learning how to reschedule a court date on the day of hearing comes in handy. 

How to Reschedule a Court Date on the Day of Hearing

Follow steps 1 to 6 of How to Reschedule a Court Date before the Day of Hearing.  If you are not assigned a new date, take the following steps:

Step 7: Dress up nicely for court on the pre-scheduled day of hearing. You will have to ask for a change of court date in-person from the judge, since you haven’t been granted one yet. Therefore, dress up for court appropriately.

Step 8: Go to court earlier than the time assigned to you. As the court doors open, go in and sit quietly on the benches until the court clerk has arrived.

Step 9: The court clerk will make their way to his/her assigned seating area, and probably be setting up the case files for the day. When you see the clerk doing so, go up to the clerk politely.

Step 10: Explain to the clerk you only need a continuance and will not be able to present today. In most cases, the clerk will not make you wait up for your turn, but instead move up your appearance.

Step 11: As soon as the judge arrives and your name is called, stand up and make your way to the judge. Ask the judge for a continuance and explain your reason for requesting so. Remember to be polite yet clear in your request.

Step 12: Now that you have learnt how to reschedule a court date, the judge might agree to grant you another court date and bang the gavel announcing so.

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