THE PROCESS OF CIVIL LITIGATION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Civil law encapsulates a variety of disputes ranging from negligence to breach of contract. These queries are usually handled by compensation for damages, whether monetary funds, goods, or services. Furthermore, recovering the monies or enforcing a court order are additions to methods of resolving issues.
THE PROCEDURES OF CIVIL MATTERS
There are certain Civil Procedure Rules that all parties must abide by, with the intention to ensure fair results. These rules contain appropriate steps to fuel reasonable costs and reasonable timescale. The main objective of the rules is to make sure cases are dealt with justly, at proportionate cost, and ensuring all parties involved are on an equal footing, consequently saving expenses. Moreover, it is imperative to assure that all matters are dealt with quickly and fairly, with justly disposing court resources to enforce compliance with the rules. These rules consequently provide the courts with ultimate control to demonstrate how each case is progressing.
TIMESCALES OF CIVIL LITIGATION
Prior to civil litigation, claimants must contact the defendant, expressing their claim with the intention that they can both reach an agreement and avoid going to the court. In this context, as litigation isn’t needed, a settlement can be the solution. On the other hand, if the courts have been instructed, a timetable is produced which must be abided. Each civil case differs, but the overriding objective is to minimise costs, therefore it will be reinforced that all parties are to act promptly so that the trial is reached in quickest time.
THE STAGES FOR CIVIL LITIGATION
There are several vital stages to be aware during civil litigation. These can be broken down into pre-litigation, the issue of court proceedings and post-litigation. Each of these steps involve several steps and processes but this is unnecessary if settled before issuing court proceedings. The pre-litigation period involves the process prior to the court involvement. It is necessary for the parties to be as transparent as possible so that all necessary information and documents are available. This leads to a more benign approach to slim the issues and enable each party to assess the possibility of a successful proceeding.
This approach gives way for a party to gain an insight whether they have a good case early on. If portrayed that their case might be weak, they could be advised to agree a settlement quickly or withdraw their claim. Contrastingly, if the claimant has a strong case, they could be advised to carry on with the litigation stage in order for the courts to intervene and concede an order which is enforceable. Contrary to the type of dispute, there are some protocols that must be followed prior to reaching the court. An example is a landlord and tenant dispute where an unfair eviction took place. In these cases, certain information may need to be supplied that wouldn’t be expected, thus requiring one’s solicitor to advise them. Pre-litigation protocols exist to encourage settlements before proceedings get to court, to encourage efficiency. If either of the parties are not abiding by relevant protocols, the court can intervene and dispose penalties. These can be exercised by one party having to pay higher rates.
If matters are unable to be resolved in pre-litigation or settlements, the court litigation will arise. County courts conventionally deal with claims under £50,000 and High Courts usually deal with £50,000 and above. Litigation begins by a defendant filing a defence if they want to contest the claim or the court can favour the claimant to their full claim amount. After a defence has been filed, the issue will be allocated to the appropriate track which attaches several interims known as directions that must be met on time. These ‘directions’ include disclosure, export reports and preparation for trial. The last stage of the process is a trial where a judge will be given to enforce a settlement. It is usually accepted that the loser of the case pays the court fees on behalf of the winner.
If there is an issue with the conclusion of the case the loser can appeal to appeal the case, sobeit there are grounds. Refusal to pay the settlement could lead to the bailiffs and other potential criminal penalties being enforced.
If you have a civil matter and are unsure of whether you can pursue a claim against an individual or business, get in touch with our expert civil litigation solicitors who can advise you on the merits of your case. Our civil lawyers will provide your confidential advice, in our offices or by virtual consultation to give you clear options on how to proceed.