If you are looking to bring a court case where there is no criminal issue, this is a civil case – it could be a dispute that needs to be resolved or you could be looking for compensation or damages and this is called civil litigation.
Civil litigation is also known as ‘Dispute Resolution’ and is normally resolved by going to court if it is not possible to resolve the dispute by negotiation.
What is classed as a “Dispute”?
There are many different areas that are classed as a dispute in English and Welsh law. They usually involve one side taking action against another, normally looking for money to compensate for something that has happened to them, which they believe that the other party was responsible for, such as a personal injury claim.
It is not always the case, however, that dispute resolution is about money, it could, for example, be that one party is looking for the other party to carry out a specific action.
How to deal with civil litigation?
In civil litigation, there is a claimant (the person making the claim) and a defendant (the person against who the claim is being made). The claimant is usually required to first send a letter to the defendant to advise them that they are proposing to take action and give them the details of their claim under a pre-action protocol.
The defendant should then send a letter of response. It is often the case that this can lead to a period of negotiation where the matter is resolved by agreement without needing to go to court.
If the defendant does not reply or the matter cannot be resolved out of court, the claimant can then issue court proceedings and the court will decide the resolution of the dispute.
There are a number of different courts that can be used depending on the type of dispute, but it is important that it is sent to the correct court to ensure that there are not any delays.
Once a case has been accepted by the court, the defendant has a certain amount of time to respond to the court claim. If they fail to do this, a judge can make a judgment in favour of the claimant.
If a defence is filed, the judge will set a time limit for each party to comply with Directions. Directions set out what steps each party need to take to prepare the court proceedings for a final hearing. The case can be struck out if the Directions are not complied with.
What are the types of civil litigation cases?
There are several different types of civil litigation cases. These can include:
- Contract disputes
- Negligence – whereby one person accuses another of causing them loss or harm
- Property disputes
- Landlord and Tenant disputes
- Personal Injury
- Intellectual property disputes
- Medical malpractice
Do civil cases always go to court?
Civil cases can be resolved out of court right up until the moment that it goes into the courtroom. It is important to remember that legal fees continue to increase the longer that the case continues, regardless of whether it is resolved in court or beforehand.
Funding Civil Litigation
If you have an issue that you think can be resolved through civil litigation and would like legal assistance, there are a number of different funding mechanisms that could be available to you. These can include:
- Paying the costs directly at an agreed hourly rate.
- Having an agreement to pay the legal costs from any award of damages – a ‘Damages-Based Agreement’.
- Representation from a union
- A conditional fee agreement – or ‘No Win No Fee’
- Having legal expenses insurance on an existing insurance policy such as your building and contents insurance.
- Legal Aid. This is very limited for civil litigation disputes. You can check whether you are eligible from the Legal Services Commission at www.gov.uk/legal-aid.
- Free representation from a charity such as the Citizen Advice Bureau.
Contact Waldrons Solicitors
Here at Waldrons, we have a team of experienced solicitors who can help you Contact us today to discuss your circumstances.
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