While speaking in the law jargon, a trial and a hearing have very different meanings. A hearing is a procedure before a court or any higher authority whereas a trial happens when the opposite parties come together to present all the evidence and information that they have before a court. Hearing is more concerned with a motion or an application, often considered as an initial step in a lawsuit.

A motion can contain interim matters, for example- the determination of custody, or a request to change the court location of a trial, structured issues related to the disclosure of documents, or an interim junction to be in place until the trial. In contrast to this is the idea of a hearing, which is basically the proceeding before a court or other decision-making authority, with evidence and most commonly filed in writing through sworn affidavits.

There are two types of orders made at a hearing- first, the ones round the procedure in regard to the lawsuit and second, the temporary orders that will only be valid till the judge reviews all the evidence at the trial and makes a final ruling. The end or final step in a lawsuit is the trial and it is usually necessary to have all proof presented by witnesses attending in person in court. During a trial, the judge makes the final decision, thus concluding the entire litigation.

The aspects where hearings differ from trials are as follows:

  • Hearings take place in front of a judge alone and no jury or panel of members is required.
  • The Hearing may contain testimonies, evidences and witnesses but to a much smaller level than a trial.
  • The Trial is much more expensive than a hearing.
  • The Trial is equivalent to the last court appearance, thus settling the case once and for all.
  • The Hearing is like a battle and the trial is like a war.