What is litigation?
An action in litigation is an action in court to resolve a dispute. If parties cannot agree on a fair and appropriate outcome of a dispute, the case will be presented to a court for judgment. This broad term describes a long, sometimes complicated process. We will outline what is litigation and its process in this article.
What types of cases can be resolved through litigation?
Cases of all types can be resolved through litigation. Examples include:
- Commercial disputes, e.g., claims of breach of contract for damaged goods and debt recovery.
- Matrimonial matters include determining the extent of spousal support claims in divorce cases.
- Claim against the state: Court review of a planning decision.
- A personal injury claim is a monetary claim stemming from an accident in which an individual was injured.
- Conflicts in the workplace, such as unfair dismissal claims.
How to choose the proper court?
As you may know, there are several different courts and tribunals in the British legal system. You will need to decide which court or tribunal to approach based on the particular facts of your dispute and whether a specialist court or tribunal exists for your specific type of dispute. You will be advised by your solicitor what is the best course of action, with the following factors influencing this decision:
- Value of the claim: The case will be started in the county court if the claim is less than £100,000. It can be brought to the High Court if valued at over £100,000.
- Claims nature: You can approach a specialist court if your case involves complex and technical evidence, such as the Technology and Construction Court, which hears disputes over building construction, engineering, and surveying.
How does one approach a British court?
A fundamental human right is to have access to a court to resolve a dispute. However, there is no guarantee that any claim can be brought in a British court. The answer to this question depends on whether or not a particular court has jurisdiction over a specific person or claim.
Many international contracts contain clauses like “in the event of a dispute, the law of England and Wales shall apply.” The British courts are not necessarily authorized to hear disputes in such cases. It merely means that England and Wales will be responsible for determining obligations in cases of conflict.
To qualify for a court’s jurisdiction, a defendant must reside within that court’s geographic jurisdiction, or the cause of action must have arisen within that court’s jurisdiction. In this complex area of law, specialized legal advice is often needed to determine whether a particular court has jurisdiction. Having a claim brought in the wrong court could result in it being dismissed based on technical grounds without the court having to consider its merits.
Three broad stages can be identified in the litigation process:
- Issuing proceedings and filing a defense.
- The pre-trial procedures.
- The trials
The Civil Procedure Rules of 1998.
These rules govern the litigation process. This vast body of regulations controls the civil litigation process. The Rules specify the time limits in which specific steps in the litigation process must be completed, the correct forms to use, and the obligation on the parties to narrow the issues at issue. It is important to note that other areas of disagreement may have their own procedural rules, such as marital disputes.
A primary purpose of the rules is to resolve disputes fairly and efficiently. If parties fail to comply with these rules, they may be penalized by getting costs ordered against them or, in the worst cases, having their claims or defenses struck out. Therefore, they cannot continue in the process and “lose” by default.
While parties are not required to have legal representation, the High Court has held that litigants in person (i.e., individuals representing themselves) are not given any special treatment concerning their obligations to comply with rules, court orders, and time limits.
Refusals of Claim
The statement of the case may contain severe defects, which means that the defendant cannot present a defense or has been advised that it is not required. Some possible reasons are:
- As stated in the case statement, the facts do not support a cause of action (i.e., a legal basis for bringing a claim).
- The court that has been named as the plaintiff does not have jurisdiction over the case.
- Before filing a defense, a defendant needs more information because the facts have not been adequately pleaded.
- This objection is raised by formal notice. Whether the claimant can proceed with its claim depends on whether the claimant amends it or whether the court hears arguments on the objections.
The process of litigation can be very costly. There is no guarantee that a party can recover all of its legal costs even when a successful party can claim its legal costs from the other side. There are two major categories of legal fees:
- Court costs are the administrative fees paid directly to the Ministry of Justice to bring a claim. These fees vary according to the value of the claim.
- Legal representation costs. Your solicitor’s fees are the costs of representing you in court. Additionally, they can vary depending on the type of claim and the level of seniority of your legal representative. It is crucial to discuss how you will pay for litigation with your lawyer.