A petition is a formal request from a person or group of people written to appeal to a higher authority to address a particular matter so that an individual or a group of individuals can be granted the request. Also, it refers to a formal written application that is made to court, requesting for action to be taken over a certain matter.
What’s the Essence of a Petition?
Right now, you may be asking yourself the above question. You may find yourself in a situation whereby you need to write a petition on your behalf or that of another person or a group of persons. In that case, knowing how a petition works, how to write one, and a few tips for creating a successful petition all go a long way. This post walks you through all of that step-by-step.
How a Petition Works
Once a petition is submitted to the recipient (usually someone of a higher authority or a court of law), the process has to go through several stages before the outcome. The first stage involves the defendant being issued with a copy of the document and subsequently a notice to appear before the petition hearing.
At this point, the petitioner and the defendant are allowed to find an amicable solution to their dispute through what we call “Alternative Dispute Resolution.” ADR refers to the process of resolving a dispute outside of court. However, the court might also issue a summary judgment i.e a verdict issued without a full trial.
However, if the two parties fail to resolve the matter outside of the court, the case must proceed to trial, where the judge will deliver a judgment. Both parties are at liberty to appeal the judgment in a higher court if they are not satisfied with the judgment, though.
How to Write a Petition
Writing a petition document requires following a few steps that include;
- Start by researching your topic to thoroughly understand all that your cause entails.
- Then, determine who will have to implement the petition. Will it be your local government or office. Or is it a school, church, or national body?
- Next, decide on how many signatures you will need to increase the chances of your petition becoming successful. Some causes have specific guidelines on how many signatures are required to put a petition into effect others don’t. In the latter case, use your discretion, keeping in mind that the more signatures you accumulate, the stronger your cause will be.
- After that, create a statement of purpose that clearly states the purpose of your petition. This will serve as the cornerstone of your petition and also help persuade your targeted signees.
- Then add supporting detail to help expound on your cause. You can write a paragraph or two that clearly and concisely explain the nature of the problem, why the problem should be fixed, and a specific call to action, asking people to help you fight towards addressing the problem.
- After that, cite your references or statistics, point your readers back to the sources, and ascertain that your information is completely accurate.
- Thereafter, create a signature form where people will append their signatures.
- Next, look for signatures. Identify places where your targeted signees are likely to be found with social media being one of them.
Petition Templates (Word & PDF)
Tips for Creating a Successful Petition
- Your writing should be as precise, concise, and informative as possible to allow your supporters to read and understand your cause properly. If it’s too long, some of them might not read it to the end and append their signatures.
- Target the right people, both your supporters, recipients, and defendants.
- Include accurate information and evidence, pointing readers to your sources.
- If you are fighting for a non-personal cause, ensure that your petition is a clear reflection of the people’s opinion.
- Get your timing right, kicking off your petition at the right moment.
- Make sure that your document is free from spelling and grammatical mistakes. You can read it and correct any mistakes first before letting a friend or loved one(preferably one who is familiar with petitions) double-check it.
If written well, a petition letter can be a powerful tool that kicks off the process of bringing the change we want. Though we often leave it to legal experts, a petition is a document anyone can write without requiring any special skills. Knowing a few simple writing steps explained above is what it takes to create a powerful and compelling petition that is sure to get granted. If you are reading this, the chances are that you need to write a petition or help someone with writing one. If that’s right, the above post contains everything you need to create an effective petition. Good luck with it.