oral argument | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction / Procedural Law

An oral argument is an opportunity for lawyers to summarize their position before the court and also to answer the judges’ questions.

An oral argument is an integral part of the appellate process, providing an opportunity for lawyers to present their arguments before the judges and to answer their questions. This process usually takes place in a courtroom and is open to the public. During an oral argument, each side is typically given a set amount of time to present its case and address any questions or concerns raised by the judges. The lawyers are expected to be well-prepared and to provide clear and concise arguments that are supported by legal precedent and the facts of the case.

The Purpose of Oral Arguments

The purpose of the oral argument is to help the judges better understand the arguments presented in the written briefs and to provide an opportunity for the judges to clarify any issues or concerns they may have. The lawyers are expected to be respectful and professional in their presentations and to avoid personal attacks or disrespectful language. The judges may ask a wide range of questions, and the lawyers must be prepared to address each of them with knowledge and expertise.

The Importance of Oral Arguments

Oral arguments are an important part of the appellate process because they allow the judges to engage in a dialogue with the lawyers and to get a better sense of the issues and arguments presented in the case. This can help the judges make a more informed decision and can also help to ensure that justice is served. However, oral arguments are not always required in every case, and some cases may be decided based solely on the written briefs submitted by the parties.

In addition to providing an opportunity for lawyers to present their arguments and for judges to ask questions, these also serve as a way to promote transparency and accountability in the judicial system. By allowing the public to observe the arguments and the interactions between the lawyers and judges, oral arguments help to promote openness and fairness in the decision-making process.

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Last Modified: 07/11/2023

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