Difference Between Hearing and Trial

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Hearing and Trial

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Hearings and trials are courtroom proceedings that are similar in character and are frequently heard by individuals while a case is pending. Some individuals mix up the phrases hearing and trial, using them interchangeably as if they were interchangeable. The truth is that there are numerous distinctions between a hearing and a trial.

Difference Between Hearing and Trial in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison Hearing Trial
Meaning It is characterized as a legal conversation between two parties and a judge to determine whether the charges against the victim are accurate or not, and whether the case should proceed to court. It is a formal legal proceeding including the parties, their attorneys, and a panel of judges. Whether the accused is guilty or not, all facts, evidence, and witnesses are given for the final judgment.
Headed By The legal discussion or hearing is led by a single Judge. The judge, panel of judges, or magistrate is in charge of the judicial action.
Duration It can last up to two days at most. The trial normally lasts a few weeks or months, but in extremely serious cases, it can last for years.
Objective To determine whether the charges are valid and the case will be accepted. The goal is to provide all of the facts as well as the judge's decision in order to prove the accused's guilt or innocence.
Formalness It is less formal because it is a discussion. Because this is a judicial action, all rules must be observed and sufficient formality must be displayed.

What is Trial?

A trial is a formal court action in which a jury or judge hears the facts and evidence provided by the disputants and renders a decision. A trial is a formal setting in which disputing parties (those in conflict) submit their facts and information to an authority that decides on the claims made by the parties.

A trial can be a bench trial, in which a single judge hears the case, or a jury trial, in which multiple competent individuals decide the outcome. A civil trial between two people or organizations, or a criminal trial involving the government and an individual, is similar. Based on the facts submitted to them, the judge or jury determines which law applies in the case and then renders their judgment.

Types of Trials

  1. Sessions Trial or Trial by court of Session: If the offense is punishable by more than seven years in jail, life imprisonment, or death, the trial must be held in a Sessions court after a magistrate has committed or referred the case to the court.
  2. Warrant Trial or Trial of Warrant cases: A warrant case involves crimes that carry the death penalty, life imprisonment, or a sentence of more than two years in jail. A warrant case trial begins with the filing of a FIR at a police station or before a Magistrate.
  3. Summons Trial or Trial of Summons cases: A summons case is one in which the offense is penalized by less than two years of jail. It is not essential to draw charges in relation to this offense. Under section 204 (1) (a) of the Cr.P.C., 1973, the magistrate issues summonses. "Summons case" refers to a case involving the offense rather than a warrant.
  4. Summary Trials: The trials in which cases are quickly resolved and a basic method is followed, as well as the summary documentation of such trials. Small cases are heard in this trial, while complex ones are heard in summons and warrant trials. Section 260-265 of the Cr.P.C., 1973, contains the legal provisions for summary trial.

Pre-Trial Process

Each courtroom's procedure for a court trial may differ. A basic framework of a court trial will be discussed. The procedure that takes place before the actual trial is the initial phase of a court trial. During this time, the charges against the criminal must be read to them. The offender must also be informed of the ramifications of the crimes for which they are being prosecuted.

Following the reading of the charges, the offender is given the choice of a jury trial or a court trial. The perpetrator is also offered the option of hiring a lawyer. If they cannot afford an attorney, the court will assign one to represent them.

After that, the offender will submit a guilty or not guilty plea. If the offender has sought representation, they will enter a not guilty plea, an attorney will be assigned, the matter will be continued, and a preliminary hearing date will be established. If the criminal has pled not guilty, the court will also have to issue bail for them.

There will be a preliminary hearing. The state must establish that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the offender as well as sufficient probable cause to indicate that a crime was committed. A trial date is scheduled once the preliminary hearing determines that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the criminal. The jury selection process will commence if the offender has requested a jury trial. If the defendant opts for a bench trial, there will be no jury selection and the evidence will be heard by the judge. A trial date is when the judge will hear witness testimony, consider all of the evidence, and issue a final decision. The trial has a procedure, which we'll go through in detail.

Trial Process

Both parties will make opening remarks during the trial. The opening comments will explain why the state believes the defendant is guilty and why the defendant believes they are innocent. The evidence will be provided after the opening speeches, and witnesses can be summoned and questioned. The evidence or witness statements might then be rebutted by each party.

Following the rebuttals, both parties make their final arguments. The judge or jury then considers all of the evidence and reaches a decision. The judge will punish the defendant when the judge or jury renders its decision (or judgment).

What is a Hearing?

A hearing is a legal proceeding that takes place in front of a judge in a court of law. It is far less formal than a trial and permits disputants to present their facts and evidence. Witnesses may testify at the hearing to assist the judge in making a preliminary assessment of the case. Hearings are typically conducted orally to make them easier to conduct and to allow the judges to reach a conclusion without the need for a trial. Before the case reaches the point of a trial, there may be a series of hearings.

There are various grounds in favor of the case to settle its important parts to support this. The judge is presented with relevant eyewitnesses and evidence. Both the defendant and the prosecution submit evidence to support their respective sides of the case throughout the hearing.

A single judge usually presides over the hearing, which can run up to two days and is a legal discussion. In comparison to their arguments and conversations, they are less formal in front of the court. Still, everything must be done in accordance with the court's guidelines and with due respect for the judge. In general, a hearing is held to discuss the matter and determine whether it is suitable to submit it in court. If the judge declines to hear the case, it is dissolved, and a fresh hearing must be scheduled to ensure the accused's rights are protected.

If the case is accepted, it will be litigated in a legal manner that follows all rules, regulations, and respect for all people and property.

Different Types of Hearings


Your first appearance before the judge is called an arraignment. It's your chance to have your charge(s) recommended as well as your court rights explained; it's also your chance to enter a plea to your charge (s). If you do not show up for your arraignment, you will receive a delinquent notice. If you do not respond to your delinquency notice in person within ten days, a bench warrant for your arrest is issued.

Review Hearing

A review hearing will be scheduled when your sentencing conditions are due. A charge-related class, community service hours, restitution, and other sanctions may be included in the sentencing. You must present if you do not complete the sentencing requirements or if your Judge demands your presence. If you completed your sentence requirements satisfactorily, you must provide evidence by the date of your review hearing. A bench warrant for your arrest is issued if you do not attend or provide proof.

Show Cause Hearing

You may receive a notice of show cause if you do not show up for the review hearing. The show cause order sets a court date for you to explain why you failed to provide evidence of your sentencing and did not show up for the review hearing. You do not have to appear in court if you complete your sentence and submit evidence to the court before the date of your show cause hearing. If you haven't finished, you must appear or a bench warrant for your arrest will be issued.

Bond Hearing

If you plead "not guilty" during the arraignment, you'll be scheduled for a future appointment with the City Prosecuting Attorney to discuss your case. If you do not attend, a bench warrant for your arrest will be issued.

Final Pretrial Status Conference

The conference may be scheduled at the Judge's discretion prior to the trial date to ensure that both parties are prepared for trial and to address any issues that may have arisen.


If you decide to take the case to trial, your Judge will preside over the proceedings. If you do not attend, a bench warrant for your arrest will be issued.

Jury Trial

If you request a jury trial, the jury will decide whether you are innocent or guilty. A bench warrant will be issued if you do not appear. Keep in mind that not all charges are eligible for a jury trial.

Almost every legal system in the world has processes and standards that must be followed during a court hearing known as a trial. During the trial, prosecution counsel presents evidence and witness testimony in an attempt to persuade a judge or jury of the defendant's guilt. During the trial, the defendant's legal counsel will have the opportunity to present a case for the defense party's innocence. The common assumption is that when both the prosecution and defense attorneys have presented their cases, a decision will be made and the matter will be concluded. If the rules of the land necessitate it, another hearing known as a sentence is performed following the trial.

From one court of law to the next, customs differ. Civil courts, for example, may have processes that differ slightly from those used in criminal courts. Military courts may have characteristics that are not present in civilian court proceedings. Although the fundamental form of hearings across two nations may be relatively similar, legal regulations and processes will differ from one country to the next.

The setting of a definite day, time, and venue for the hearing is a common component in almost all hearings. A hearing may be arranged promptly or at a later date, depending on the facts of the case, providing both prosecutors and defense counsel time to gather material for presentation during a trial.

Because the scope and nature of hearings in a specific court of jurisdiction will differ, it is essential to review the laws controlling the operation of courts in that jurisdiction. Attorneys licensed to practise law in the jurisdiction can also inform clients about any upcoming court proceedings that may be relevant to their circumstances.

Main Differences Between Trial and Hearing in Points

  • The Hearing is a legal conversation between the judges and two parties to determine whether the charges against the accused are accurate or false, and whether the matter will be heard in court. The Trial is the final step in presenting a verdict, and it is a proper legal activity between lawyers, parties, and judges.
  • To check the facts, the Hearing is normally led by a single judge, but the Hearing is always led by a judge, panel of judges, jury, or magistrate.
  • The Hearing lasts two days, however the Trial might last weeks, months, or even years in important cases.
  • The primary goal of the hearing is to determine whether the allegations against the victim are true. The Trial, on the other hand, is a legal proceeding that determines whether the accused is guilty or innocent.
  • Hearings are legal discussions, thus there is less formality because lawyers and judges can argue, while trials are a more formal environment in which judges must be treated with respect at all times.


To ensure law and order in the country, every democratic country has a well-established justice system. It acts like a legislator, and it can amend the law if it believes it is ineffective. It serves as a proper communication system between citizens and the government. The government does not include the judiciary. A hearing by law is a formal conversation between parties and a judge to determine whether the claims are true and whether the matter should proceed to trial. Nonetheless, the trial is a formal and final event in which the judge declares whether the accused is guilty or not.


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"Difference Between Hearing and Trial." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sun. 19 May. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-hearing-and-trial-560>.

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