Litigation is the process of taking a dispute to a court of law. If parties cannot agree between themselves about the fair and proper outcome of a dispute they will present their respective cases to a court for its judgment. It is a broad term that describes a long and sometimes complex process.
The litigation process is governed by The Civil Procedure Rules 1998. This is a comprehensive set of rules which inform all aspects of the civil litigation process. The Rules prescribe the time limits within which certain steps in the litigation process must be undertaken, the correct forms to use and the obligations on the parties to litigation to narrow the issues in dispute. Please note that other areas of dispute, such as matrimonial disputes, may have their own set of procedural rules to follow.
The overriding objective of the rules is to resolve disputes justly and by the most efficient means possible. Parties can be penalised for failing to comply with these rules by costs orders against them or in the most extreme cases having their claims or defences “struck out”. This means that they can no longer continue in the process and “lose” by default.
These procedural rules can be complex and while there is no obligation on parties to have legal representation, the High Court has held that litigants in person (i.e. individuals representing themselves) will not be given any special treatment in respect of their obligations to comply with the rules, court orders and timeframes. It is therefore highly recommended that you instruct a Solicitor to assist and guide you through the complex rules. Our expert solicitors at White Horse Solicitors & Notary Public appreciate that litigation can be a complex area to understand and we are here for you to guide you through the litigation process with due care and attention.
The following listed are the five key steps in the Litigation Process:
Pre Action Protocols are the steps you need to take before going to court. They allow correspondence between parties in order to allow time to reach a settlement if possible, or if not, provide pertinent information to each side before a claim is made. At White Horse Solicitors & Notary Public, our experienced Solicitors are well versed in all types of civil and commercial litigation Pre Action Protocols, and will comply with them to ensure you get the best result.
When litigation starts in all civil courts, it is inevitable that one of the many court forms will have to be completed. From Part 7 Claim Form N1, or Part 8 Claim Form N208 to the N244 Application Notice Forms, we are available to advise clients on what these forms mean and how and when to complete them. We have qualified and experienced civil and commercial litigation Solicitors that will ensure that all your court forms and documents have been properly completed.
As soon as a claim is made in the County Court or the High Court it is very likely that you will need to draft Particulars of Claim. This is a document that sets out the case the claimant is trying to make and details the evidence the claimant relies upon. Depending upon the complexity of the claim, it can be included in the Part 7 Claim Form N1 or Part 8 Claim Form N208 or served as a separate document with the Claim Form.
Legal proceedings commence by the formal service of a claim on a Defendant. The claimant’s case will be set out in two documents:
The length and complexity of a statement of case will depend on the facts of each case. This document does not contain evidence because its purpose is to set out in clear terms the facts which the claimant alleges, if proved, will justify the relief sought in the case and the full legal basis for the claim. The Defendant must be fully informed of the case they have to answer.
Our Solicitors will ensure your case will receive all necessary attention before and after judicial proceedings commence.
Once a party receives a Part 7 Claim Form N1, Part 8 Claim Form N208 or a Particulars of Claim, they are under particular time limits to defend the Claim if they do not agree with it. Much like a Particulars of Claim, a Defence is a document that sets out the case the Defendant is trying to make and details the evidence the Defendant relies upon. This pleading deals with the facts alleged and either admits or denies them.
A Defendant could allege additional facts which it says is relevant to the determination of the claim. A claimant may, in addition, deliver a “reply to the defence” to deal with these additional facts.
Our Solicitors will ensure your Defence is drafted and submitted in compliance with the procedures.
Once the pleadings are filed, the parties will have a fair idea of which issues of fact or conclusions of law are in dispute. The purpose of the pre-trial procedures is to:
The procedures for the above are set out in detail in the Civil Procedure Rules. It is vital that both parties engage with each other in a civil and co-operative manner. If a party is shown to be obstructive or evading its obligations under these rules, then they could face a penalty for costs even if they are ultimately successful in the action.
Once the court forms have been filled in and the pleadings have been filed and served, the court may require the parties to attend court for interim applications or a trial of the matter at hand. Once the court has heard the evidence and argument as to the correct legal conclusion based on the evidence, it will make its decision. This is known as a judgment. It is usually in writing and will set out the facts the court found proved and the legal conclusion based on those facts. The judgment will also contain a direction as to who should pay the costs of the litigation.
Our specialist solicitors have years of experience in dealing with debt recovery issues for businesses. We will solve your problem in an efficient and timely manner.
When problems arise in your business about payments not being received and invoices not being replied to, we will step in and provide a solution. Our goal is to recover your debt as soon as possible; preventing any further loss for your business. We can assist in advising when a payment is considered late in law. Advice will also be given as to what you have to do next and how much you can claim as a result of the failed payment.
You may be in a situation where you have not been paid by multiple debtors. Our fixed fee debt recovery service can quickly and effectively recover debt from any number of debtors. At White Horse Solicitors & Notary Public, we also make sure that we know your business. We feel that having a personal approach to your business is vital. You will feel at ease knowing that you are dealing with a solicitor who appreciates what your business means to you.
We can help you with all of the following and more:
Businesses and individuals are becoming more and more reliant on their professional advisors to guide them and represent their interests, but when the professional advisors get it wrong they should expect to be held to account.
There may be an occasion where you have received incorrect advice from another solicitor or a professional. Estate agents, surveyors, accountants and even architects can get things wrong. You may feel angered that their mistake has cost you substantial financial loss. Not knowing who to turn to for a solution can be frustrating. Professionals will usually have the benefit of professional indemnity insurance so that, assuming liability is established, claimants will be able to recover some or all of their loss and the majority of their legal costs of bringing the claim.
At White Horse Solicitors & Notary Public we understand your grievance and will do our best to solve your issue with an outcome that satisfies you.
Civil litigation refers to a process where a party may bring upon a claim under court proceedings. It is a legal way of resolving disputes between parties and/or members of society. It involves solving disputes involving public bodies and/or private individuals where one party usually seeks compensation, damages, or specific performance from the other party.
In litigation cases, you may have to go to court; however, cases always vary by their own circumstances. You are entitled to agree to a settlement with the other party once the legal proceedings have been started. The only time you would have to attend court hearings is when a settlement or an agreement cannot be reached between the parties.
The length of each case is variable. Each case depends on its nature, complexity, the court’s timetable, the parties’ amenability, and the parties involved. Most cases may be over in a matter of a few months in case there are no any complex legal or factual issues or even external boundaries to the proceedings. The United Kingdom legal system’s civil procedure and judicial case management has been implemented in a way to prevent cases from “dragging” for years in the court room without being resolved and concluded. Another major factor in the length of a case would be the solicitor assigned to your case. Our solicitors and legal professionals are present and our team assures you a due time follow up on your case and on a regular basis.
If the parties are not satisfied with the outcome one (or sometimes both) can apply to appeal the judgment to a higher court. An appeal court will, as a general rule, not interfere with findings of fact made by the first judge (because that judge had the opportunity to observe the witnesses and make decisions about their credibility) but it could disagree with the judge’s legal conclusions and either overturn or vary the original finding.
The judicial structure and the separation of courts system is very complex. In most civil cases, the losing party always considers asking the court to reconsider the ruling of the lower ranked court. The reconsideration may be in whole or partial. There isn’t a single answer to this question; however, in most circumstances, the losing party has always the right to appeal, but with time limitations. Usually, the appeal notice must be filed at most 21 days after the decision of the court has been made unless otherwise stated specifically by the court at hand. In some cases, the appeal must be made seven days from the moment the decision of the court has been made.
Regarding rulings of county court district Judges, the appeals may be submitted to country court circuit Judges and then to the Court of Appeals if further appeal is deemed as necessary. Moreover, initial rulings of the county court circuit Judges may be appealed to the High court, and finally, initial rulings of the high court may be appealed to the Supreme Court via permission from the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court itself. Generally, this appeal must be made within 28 days from the day the decision was made.
However, under very rare and certain circumstances, civil cases may be appealed straight to the Supreme Court from a high court Judge and/or a divisional court Judge. For most appeals to be taken, a permission must be obtained from the responsible court at hand. Finally, clients must be aware that reconsidering a case involves only the re-deciding of the law applied and not the facts introduced.
Solicitors are bound by the Solicitors Code of Conduct and confidentiality which ensures that no disclosures about your specific case can be made to anyone outside the team of lawyers working on your case without your own and specific permission. However, it must be noted that the court has the power to order your solicitor to disclose certain information relevant to your case to the other party for the sake of conducting a fair trial and civil procedure. This means that certain documentation belonging to your case may be disclosed to the opposing party. This specific documentation is documentation that you decide to rely upon and documentation that will affect your case and its outcome at court drastically.
Usually, a claimant is entitled to recover damages made by the wrongdoer, who is referred to as the defendant by the legal jargon. A defendant may be ordered to repay the money or the assets he or she has taken away from you. He or she may also have to pay damages to the plaintiff, the person that was wrongfully done. The aim of a civil case is to put the claiming party in a position they were in prior to the negligence, breach of contract or tort.
There certainly is a limit that exists. Due to the existence of the Limitation Act 1980 which was ratified to urge parties to file claims and to refrain from improper justice being served, most types of claims have a certain limitation associated to them. As contractual breaching claims are one of the most common claims made, 6 years from the date on which the contract was breached is the limit for you to bring on a claim. Moreover, personal injury claims should be brought within three years from the date the loss was suffered from the opposing party’s side.
Usually, during litigation, each party and member of the litigation proceedings is responsible for his and/or her own costs. The rule of thumb however is that the loser pays the reasonable costs of the issue at hand which means that upon the completion of the litigation proceeding and the awarding of the verdict, the Judge is to decide the party liable to pay the costs of the litigation which is in most cases the losing party. The costs that are included are comprised of, but not limited to, witness expenses, court fees, and expert fees. However, clients must note that in situations where the case at hand is below £10,000.00 it will be considered as a small claim case and each party would be responsible to pay for his or her own fees, whether successful or not.
Litigation can be an extremely expensive undertaking. While it is true that in most cases the successful party can claim its legal costs from the other it is unlikely that a party would be able to recover all of its legal costs. The costs can be divided into two broad categories: