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What Is a Change of Venue? Definition, Uses and Importance.

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In law, the term “ change of venue” is used to refer to the act of moving the location of a trial or a legal proceeding to a different location. If the case is a high-profile one, there might be a need to use a change of venue as a means of shifting the jury trial to a far location. This is done to ensure that there’s no occurrence of an unfair, impartial jury because of the publicity the case must have garnered within the period the case was filed.

The change of location may be to a different town, state, city, or even in an entirely different country.

Some grounds for changing the venue of a case are newspaper reports – they can cause the unfair judgment of the defendant through publicity. Fear of violence and racial violence are other reasons why they are considered.

What is a Venue?

In this context, a venue is an exact location that’s often used to set up a hearing for criminal and civil cases or even probate matters. Several factors can be used to decide the venue for a court hearing and these include:

  • The house that a defendant or plaintiff lives in
  • The business location of the defendant
  • The location of the court where the defendant will be tried

The venue for a criminal case will be decided based on:

  • The location of the crime scene
  • If its a murder, the focus will be channeled to where the dead body was found

For cases that involve real estate or the buying, selling, and transfer of properties, the appropriate venue will be a court located in the destination where the real estate property is located.

Why is Change of Venue Important?

Change of venue is important because of the political atmosphere, pretrial publicity, and a ton of other situations that can prevent a person from having a fair trial in a country where the case was filed initially.

Also, a defendant can push a motion for a change of venue if they think that the original venue is inappropriate to handle the case. 

How is Change of Venue structured?

First, the defendant who wants to change the venue needs to apply for a “change of venue” motion. He or she must do this promptly and according to the state rules and procedures. 

The motion to change a venue is often done before the main trial starts. In this case, it is referred to as the pretrial motion.

If the defendant remains silent about the venue, it ultimately means that they have given up on their right to challenge the provided venue for a case.  The defendant must also avoid getting into a guilty plea as that disqualifies them from challenging the venue of the trial. 

Choosing a venue to benefit a party’s case on purpose is called “forum shopping”. It doesn’t occur often in criminal cases, even though it may become necessary in certain circumstances. 

The grounds for changing the venue are always specified in the statutes. 

Lifespan Of Change of Venue?

The right time to begin your application for a change of venue is within 10 days before the due date for the case trial. After the court approves the motion for the change of venue, the judicial council of the state plays a role in seeing that the case is successfully transferred to a new place.

How is Change of Venue Used?

As mentioned earlier in this article, the attorney pushes a change of venue when they see adequate reasons to do so. Some of those reasons may include but are not limited to:

  • Prevention of partial trial for the defendant
  • The witnesses of the trial will most likely feel more comfortable and at ease when they are transferred to a new venue
  • Avoiding a biased jury that pretrial publicity might create. This is especially if you are dealing with a high-profile case.

There’s also a case where a contract clause, if used, will determine the venue that will be used for the trial.

Synonyms for Change of Venue

Below are other ways that you can say the term “change of venue”

  • Relocation
  • Change of place
  • Change in venue

Can I ask my Attorney to Transfer My Trial to Another Venue or Court?

Of course, it’s possible. If you get in a situation where you feel like having your case tried in a court that isn’t the one it was originally filed, talking to a qualified person will help you scale through.

Find out more important things and possible questions you can ask and the rights of your executor in this detailed guide.

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