It seems many of you out there have questions on writing a prayer for relief or how to ask for one in oral argument. Some of you out there take great pride in drafting this section in your pleadings. Here are my thoughts, but I also welcome any additional tips, advice, or examples.
A written prayer for relief is the final section in a pleading (oral prayers are discussed below). It is also commonly referred to as a “WHEREFORE” clause. If done properly, it is the easiest section you will write.
In its most basic form, it simply says:
WHEREFORE, Mr. Smith respectfully requests this Honorable
Court . . .
That’s it. The hardest part is finishing that sentence. In it you ask the court for your requested relief. In a motion, you may ask:
WHEREFORE, Mr. Smith respectfully requests this court to dismiss this action and grant any further equitable relief it deems appropriate.
The catch-all “equitable relief” clause prevents you from limiting an otherwise sympathetic judge’s options due to the lack of your imagination.
There are a few differences in federal practice. I believe all motions must be accompanied by a memorandum of law. Also, while counsel provides a sample order, rarely does a judge enter it en toto. The judge will review the order and adjust it accordingly. Overall, it is a much more formal practice. However, that does not change the nature of the prayer. Your motion will have a prayer for relief and your memo will have a conclusion. That is because your memo is supporting your pleading. The conclusion briefly summarizes your position and demonstrates why you are entitled to the relief you requested.
Oral argument is a different animal. There, you have limited time to argue your position and answer the judge’s (or judges’) questions. Therefore, a different strategy is employed.
Generally, you will address the court (i.e. may it please the court, etc.), introduce yourself and your client, possibly state your theme, then ask for your relief. Follow up with your roadmap so the judge(s) immediately know, in a few words, why you are entitled to relief. If you have time at the end of your argument, close with your prayer again.
There are a couple of reasons to ask for relief up front. First, you may run out of time. You never want a judge wondering what you wanted the court to do after you have sat down. Second, it sets the stage for the rest of your argument. The judge(s) will know what you want up front and a successful advocate will spend the rest of his time making the case for why the requested relief is the right one.
In a moot court competition, there are tactical advantages for doing this. This approach will generally get you points up front and sets up an effective argument. There is a lot to discuss when it comes to effective roadmaps in a moot court competition, so that is perhaps left for another day. But your prayer for relief should be strategically placed in your roadmap to get it out up front.
Below is just one example of an argument roadmap (in an appellate court) that includes a prayer for relief and it can be adapted to your own style and specific needs:
May it please the Court. Good afternoon, my name is Rodrigo Caruço and I represent the Government in this case. This is a case about a consensual search of a family home. The Government asks this court to affirm the military judge’s decision to admit the evidence against the appellant for the following three reasons: First, Ms. Holten voluntarily consented to a search of her home. Second, the scope of her consent included the den and its contents. And third, the evidence seized is admissible because Ms. Holten had proper authority to consent to a search of the home she shared with her husband, the appellant.
However, I am aware that generally the prevailing party in state court typically drafts the order. In those cases, your imagination and the rules of professional conduct are your only boundaries, but the relief entered must be fully provided by you.
If using the term “prayer” makes you uncomfortable, substitute “WHEREFORE clause.”
Roadmaps are for another day. However, some preliminary information may be necessary. A roadmap typically includes your address to the court, your name (and your client’s), the theme of your argument, the relief you seek, and a couple of short sentences stating why you are entitled to that relief. This snapshot outlines your argument for a judge and can serve as an effective advocacy tool if communicated effectively.
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Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education, 072518 FED9, 16-55425
The Foundation filed suit challenging a religious exercise at a local school board’s meetings, including a prayer in the portion of the meeting that was open to the public and that included student attendees and participants. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment and injunctive relief to the Foundation, holding that invocations to start the open portions of…
… Virginia, for Amicus Curiae Congressional Prayer Caucus. Foundation. . . … judgment and injunctive relief in favor of plaintiffs in an. action … school students are common. For example, at one meeting. second-graders sang folk …
prayer for relief
Юридический термин: ходатайство о выплате пособия, ходатайство о назначении или о выплате пособия, ходатайство о назначении пособия, ходатайство о предоставлении судебной защиты, ходатайство о скидке, ходатайство об освобождении, ходатайство об освобождении (от уплаты, ответственности) или о скидке (с налога), ходатайство об освобождении (от уплаты, ответственности) или о скидке , исковое требование
Универсальный англо-русский словарь. Академик.ру. 2011.
Смотреть что такое “prayer for relief” в других словарях:
prayer for relief — What the plaintiff in a lawsuit asks of the court for example, monetary damages, an injunction to make the defendant stop a certain activity, or both. The plaintiff usually makes a special prayer for specific relief (for example, a monetary… … Law dictionary
Prayer for relief — The prayer for relief is what the plaintiff asks of the court for example, the plaintiff may ask for an award of monetary damages, an injunction to make the defendant stop a certain activity, or both … Wikipedia
prayer for relief — That portion of a complaint (more properly called demand for relief) in a civil action which sets forth the requested relief or damages to which the pleader deems himself entitled. This is a requisite element of the complaint. Fed.R.Civil P. 8(a) … Black’s law dictionary
prayer for relief — See prayer … Ballentine’s law dictionary
prayer for alternative relief — See prayer in the alternative … Ballentine’s law dictionary
application for relief — index prayer Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 … Law dictionary
request for relief — index petition, prayer Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 … Law dictionary
prayer — / prer/ n: the part of a pleading (as a complaint) that specifies the relief sought; also: a request for relief or some other action by the court Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. prayer … Law dictionary
prayer — The request contained in a bill in equity that the court will grant the process, aid, or relief which the complainant desires. Also, by extension, the term is applied to that part of the bill which contains this request. Under modern rules… … Black’s law dictionary
prayer — prayer, suit, plea, petition, appeal mean an earnest and usually a formal request for something and their corresponding intransitive verbs pray, sue, plead, petition, appeal mean to make such a request. Prayer and pray imply that the request is… … New Dictionary of Synonyms
Prayer — For other uses, see Prayer (disambiguation). Mary Magdalene by Ary Scheffer (1795–1858). Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or … Wikipedia