The use of visual aids in legal preparation

Visual aid means those tools that make things visible before one’s eyes. It includes photograph, plans, models, diagrams, pictures, videos, ppts etc.  These tools will boost the performance in court in many counts.  I will first discuss how we can use these aids in preparation and presentation of a case and later I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of such uses.

How many types of visual aids are there? Photograph, chart, diagram, video, models, mind map, circle chart, power point presentation, tape, etc.  If skillfully used, they can make complicated matter absolutely simple. 

For example, in a house dispute the plan of the house will show the matter of dispute, the point of controversy very clearly.  In a land dispute the plan of the plot will ease the case very effectively.

In a murder case, the photograph of victim, crime scene, wound will show clearly how the victim was killed, where his body lied. From here it can be inferred how he fell down, how he was injured. From here it can be inferred who is the potential killer. There photos will refresh the memory of the witness.  This will also help court deliver justice effectively. Moreover if models of accused, victim and crime scene are used to recreate the situation before judge then it will be easy for the judge himself to understand the situation and the opposite side will also understand the case.

In a road accident case, if a model of road, car and victim is used to recreate the situation before the court it will be very easy for the judge to understand the case.  In a matrimonial case the photograph of physical torture on the body of one party can convince court what is the case about.

Visual aids help lawyers to understand the case in great detail. One such visual aid is circle chart. It actually divides any point into its component part. For example:  if breach of contract is the fact-in-issue, the circle chart will divide it into 4 parts namely:  contract, damage, term/s breached, and enforceability. The point damage is further divided into two parts: minimizing damage and putting back to position. The last point implies repair/rectify etc. the point contract is subdivided into three parts: written, spoken, implied terms. Each part is again subdivided into 4 parts: parties, price, and date entered, to do what. The last part is subdivided into two more part: time table and activities.  So it is clear that such type of circle chart divides the entire matter into more manageable parts.  This helps the lawyer grasps the entire case.

Visual aids help the court in understanding complicated process like mining, chemical industries process, business process, industrial process etc. these things will cause injustice if not properly understood.  Block diagram, flow chart, process diagram etc. will help the court to understand the process. Flow chart of a factory will show the court how poisonous fumes are expelled from the factory in a health hazard case under factory law. The model of Flore will show the position of workers in the same dispute. It will help the court to understand more clearly what happened and how the person got injured. A working model of a factory machine will help the court to understand how the worker got his finger or hand cut in it.

A model of natural world will help understand the court how natural resources are exploited. The model of a river basin helps us understand how the release from factories came into contact with the river in personal injury litigation. T not least So the court will do justice more easily. The model of a mine helps the court to understand how the mine operates in a mine related dispute.  

Visual diagram plays a vital role in understanding cycles, hierarchy, relationship etc.  These should be clearly understood if justice is delivered. For example if court cannot understand the organization structure of a company in a company fraud case then it cannot held liable the proper official. If the court cannot understand the hierarchy of administration in a case where govt. is a party, it cannot deliver justice properly.  If the court cannot understand the relationship between parties in a complicated property trial, it cannot deliver the right to property to the right party. So the importance of visual diagram is undoubtedly established.

Last but not least, the most important visual aid is timeline of event.  It is a must have of every court of law to understand who is guilty. If the lawyers show to the court which event comes after which event through a decent timeline, not only court understands the event but also can see any loophole or missing event that might turn the trial into a different direction. So timeline is a must thing in court. In complicated cases this is a great gift to ensure justice.

Advantages of visual aid:

Till now the reader must understand the need for visual aids. The chief benefit is easy delivery of justice.  This is the ultimate objective of administration of justice.  So visual aids are helping the court in fulfilling its objective.

Second big benefit is that with visual aid one can detect fake cases that are lodged in court. This is a widespread practice in India which is a very tribal and backward country.  People accuse each other in fake cases to settle scores. Women now-a-days is doing it very often.

Third big advantage is visual aids will help the lawyer himself to understand the case. If lawyer does not get it, how could he present his case before court?  Visual aids will solve this problem.

Disadvantage of visual aids:

Firstly, our Indian courts do not have the required infrastructure for using visual aids. You cannot place a model in thin air, or show a chart without a stand. Lawyers have to bring it with him.

Secondly, the amount of case piled before judge is another big obstacle. Judges won’t have required time to understand the visual aids. Court closes at 6’o clock evening. 

Thirdly, the opposite party might not want to hear that way. He might want to make quick buck by presenting the case the way his client wants him to.

Author’s suggestion:

At present do not bring visual aids in all type of cases. Rather bring it in those cases that need special attention, that gains big media coverage. These are the cases where judges have their time. Also lawyers himself should use visuals to understand the case in all types of case. This will make the lawyer pinpoint in their approach. This might help do justice in Indian scenario.

 

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