Court Hearing and Court Trial: What’s The Difference?

Court Hearing and Court Trial: What’s The Difference?

Contrary to what Hollywood may have implied, a trial and a hearing are different from each other; we must not mistake one for the other. Read on to level up on your legal lingo game!

In legal terms, a hearing refers to court procedures involving any authority empowered with decision-making. A trial refers to opposing parties convening to submit their evidence to the court for a judge to deliberate over.

In terms of duration, a hearing is shorter and not as formal. Throughout the process of a legal proceeding, hearings are the usual procedure to verify if a proper closure to the issue could be achieved without resorting to a trial. Hearings also enable the authorities to weigh specific issues such as the admissibility of the evidence. Some limited evidence and testimony are shown during hearings.

A jury trial is conducted before a select competent group. A presiding judge heads bench trials, this type of trial gets resolved in a somewhat shorter timeframe. The criminal trials are those that tackle various crimes. A civil trial applies to disputes that are not criminal. An administrative hearing is not the same as the trial, although the similarity to trial proceedings are noteworthy.

Although court hearings closely resemble trial proceedings, these are not synonymous. Also, the term “trial” does not apply to appellate proceedings since these proceedings are limited to the analysis of the evidence presented to the court.

Hearings are of different types. Some hearings are mainly about civil matters while others tackle criminal issues.

Anyone familiar with the processes in trials and hearings rarely mixes them up, which is also due to the precise structure of the judiciary. But to those who are still mistaking one for the other, here is a wrap-up. The differences between a trial and a hearing are listed below:

1.  In terms of the law, a hearing involves the legal meeting of parties, wherein the lawsuit will undergo deliberation and judgment before the opposing parties. On the other hand, a trial is a legal proceeding to examine facts and evidence which may or may not incriminate the defendant and lead to ascertaining his or her degree of guilt or otherwise.

2. The presiding officer of a hearing is the judge. On the other hand, a judge, jury, or a magistrate can preside over a trial.

3.  The main goal of hearings is to look into the substance of the charges filed against at the defendant, whether these indeed have a basis or if it is worth pursuing or not. In turn, the trial seeks to ascertain the guilt or innocence of the defendant.

4. Trials have a higher degree of formality as compared to court hearings.

5.  The time frame for a court hearing is not as demanding as that of a court trial.