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Chronologies

A chronology (see Writing a chronology) is useful in two ways: the document itself is useful, because it provides an at-a-glance summary of the key dates and events. And the process of writing it is even more useful, because it helps fix the key dates and events in your mind.

What it is not for, however, is putting your case. The tribunal will want a chronology agreed by both sides, and will expect it to be drafted in neutral terms. If you put disputed material in your chronology, you can’t expect the other side to agree it.

If you need to put disputed allegations in to make sense of the story, put them in in a way that makes it clear that they are disputed – eg:

25.9.08 alleged racial abuse by P

Sometimes when you’ve drafted a complete chronology, you’ll find that it goes on for pages and is not much more digestible than the several lever-arch files of documents you’ve taken it from. Don’t throw it away – you’ll definitely need it – but you might want to create another version on a single page that just lists the 10 or 15 most important dates. If you can find the time, committing the short version to memory before the hearing begins is very worthwhile.

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