Between September and June of each year, the Supreme Court hears oral
arguments on pending cases in eight two-week terms in the Supreme Court
courtroom located at
Capitol Avenue in Hartford. Oral arguments are open to the
public and you are invited to attend. Beginning with its September 2009 term, the Supreme Court changed its policy regarding how it hears cases. Most cases had been heard by panels of five. The Court now sits en banc - in panels of seven - in all cases in which there are no disqualifications. When one justice has recused him or herself from hearing a matter, the Court sits as a panel of six. If there are two disqualifications, the Court sits as a panel of five. This policy recognizes that the public has an interest in having every justice hear and decide every case, whenever possible.
The proceedings in the Supreme Court differ from the trial court proceedings in three important respects: First, this court does not hear the testimony of witnesses. Instead, it hears the arguments of lawyers for each party, who have filed written briefs beforehand in which they have described the case to the court.
Second, this court does not decide questions of fact. Instead, it decides issues of law, such as the interpretation of a statute or the constitutionality of the procedures used in presenting evidence at trial.
Finally, this court does not decide a case immediately after the proceedings. Rather, after each side has had the opportunity to present its case to the court in a half-hour oral argument, the court takes the case under advisement and delivers its judgment within a few months.