How To Write A Request For Continuance

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

A request for continuance in a legal setting is a request that court proceedings be postponed until a later date. Writing this request involves explaining your reasoning for needing a continuance as well as details about the continuance request.

Letter Format

The format of the letter is that of a formal letter to be filed with the court. It will contain the address of the sender and receiver, begin with "To: Clerk of Courts, ______ (Name of Court)", end with "Sincerely," and be signed with your name. You will want to include your docket number before the body of the letter so that the court clerk will be able to look you up more easily.

In addition to the formatting of the letter, you also need to send it to the right people. You should send one copy to the court clerk and the other copy to the other party in your legal dispute. You should say in the body of the letter near the end that you are sending two copies of the letter. You will also want to keep a third copy for your records.

Legitimate Requests For Continuance

There are many legitimate reasons you may want to file for a continuance. However, there are just as many illegitimate reasons that will be rejected by the courts. Examples of good reasons for continuance include key witnesses being out of town or unable to attend, serious, one-time events such as exams, graduations, weddings, funerals or other goings-on or simply because you need more time to prepare. As long as you are deemed to have "good cause," continuance will most likely be granted.

When To Make Your Request

Requests for continuance must be made at least a week in advance of the trial date. Keep in mind that when you request a continuance, you cannot then turn around and ask for a speedy trial. The two are mutually exclusive.

If you've filed a request for continuance and haven't heard from the court clerk by a few days before your trial, you may call the court clerk to get the information about your continuance. Until you have written or verbal confirmation from the court that your request for continuance has been granted, be prepared to show up for court that day. Not showing up for court on the day that you are scheduled to arrive could cause you to lose your claim.

More On This Topic



Comments are closed.