Friday, 19 May 2017

What is Civil Litigation?

Litigation is the term used to describe proceedings initiated between two opposing parties to enforce or defend a legal right. It is not a Criminal prosecution but rather a Civil matter.  Civil Litigation is typically settled by agreement between the parties, but may also be heard and decided by a magistrate or judge in court or an arbitrator in some instances.

Contrary to popular belief, litigation is not simply another name for a lawsuit. Litigation includes any number of activities before, during, and after a lawsuit to enforce a legal right. In addition to the actual lawsuit, pre-suit negotiations, arbitrations, facilitations and appeals may also be part of the litigation process.

Civil litigation includes matters before the Supreme Court, the District Court, the Local Court, the Land & Environment Court, the Family Court, the Federal Court, the Motor Accidents Authority Tribunals, the Workers Compensation Commission and even the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).  Solicitors have a right of appearance in all Courts and most Tribunals.  Appearances in NCAT in most matters requires leave of the Tribunal to appear for a client.

Litigation begins the moment someone decides to formally enforce or defend his or her legal rights. In most cases, this happens the moment a party engages a Solicitor to represent their interests. Most Solicitors engage in a variety of “pre-suit” litigation activities. These can include many things, from writing a letter on a client’s behalf called a demand letter, to demand compensation. However, there are several different steps in litigation that occur in nearly every case.  For further information contact us.

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