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In law, a trial, or more specifically the formal examination of a cause before a judge according to the laws of the land. In popular usage the term often refers to a formal proceeding before a magistrate prior to the inception of a case, and in particular to a preliminary hearing, where a magistrate or judge determines whether the evidence justifies proceeding with the case.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on hearing, visit Britannica.com.