Providing a detailed and accurate chronology to your lawyer is generally the most critical instruction that you need to give to him.
Q. What is a Chronology?
A. A Chronology is a schedule that records all major events in a table form.
A Customer owes you $15,000 for a goods supplied and delivered by you to him on 30 June 2011. The value of the goods were in fact $25,000 but he paid you a deposit of $10,000 on the 1 June 2011. He had in fact ordered the goods from you on 1 May 2011. The goods were provided on credit after the customer opening a credit account with you on 1 February 2011. You had sent a letter requesting payment of the outstanding debt on 14 July 2011. You called him on the 21 July 2011, where he promised to pay you. You sent him an email to him on 28 July. He replied to your email on 1 August.
The chronology would provide
|1 February 2011||Customer requests that a Credit Account be open.He signs Credit Application and Guarantee.||Credit Application dated 1 February 2011|
|14 February 2011||Credit Application is approved.||Letter dated 14 February 2011|
|1 May 2011||Customer requests the the supply of 25000 widgets for delivery before 30 June 2011 for cost of $25,000.An agreement is entered into where you agree to supply him the 25000 widgets for a total cost of $25,000 on the condition that he pays a deposit of $10,000 by 1 June 2011.||Letter or agreement confirming order and terms dated 1 May 2011|
|1 June 2011||Receive payment from Customer||Receipt dated 1 June 2011|
|30 June 2011||25000 widgets delivered to Customer||Delivery Note dated 30 June 2011Invoice dated 30 June 2011|
|14 July 2011||Letter sent to customer requesting payment||Letter dated 14 July 2011|
|21 July 2011||Telephoned Customer. Customer said “I am sorry, I will pay you next week”||Diary note?|
|28 July 2011||Email sent to Customer referring to telephone conversation and requesting payment||Email 28 July 2011|
|1 August 2011||Email received from Customer advising delay in payment.||Email 1 August 2011|
Q. How do you prepare one?
A. You start by preparing the bundle of documents.
Except in the simplest of case it is not possible to correctly recollect facts and events without referring to contemporaneous documents. In the example above, almost the whole chronology could have been prepared by just referring to the document bundle.
In real life is not that easy.
Most cases are a lot more complex involving hundreds of events.
Your record keeping may not be perfect or complete.
In those cases the document bundle is an essential reference to assist in your recollection. It provides time markers to give order to your recollection.
My next blog will discuss how to collate of the document bundle.