What is Litigation? How Does It Affect You?

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So: what is litigation, exactly. In the world of law, there are a lot of different words that spring up from cases and regulations. To the layperson, these can make the proceedings incredibly difficult to follow. The law is an accumulation of over hundreds of years and takes specialist knowledge to successfully work through.

That is why if you want to make a claim or force someone to do something legally, you’ll need to hire a lawyer. The process the lawyer will go through for your case is the litigation process.

What is Litigation?

As we say, litigation is, in fact, a process. It has also been referred to as dispute resolution, which might help you understand more of what litigation is. In essence, litigation can help a client resolve a dispute they have within the bounds of the law. If you are a landlord who wishes to evict a tenant, then you will need to use litigation to do it.

The same applies if you wanted to pursue legal action against an organisation or business. It applies to any commercial transaction. Litigation can cover contract issues, fraud complains, mergers, and so much more.

It is not just a lawsuit.

What is the Difference Between This and Lawsuit?

A lawsuit is part of a litigation, but the latter does not always mean there will be a lawsuit. In fact, we resolve many issues without the need for a lawsuit. Instead, simple threatening legal action does the job.

Why Would You Need Litigation?

Litigation refers to the entire process a lawyer will go through to help you reach your goals. Again, most litigations don’t involve a courtroom trial, as most reach settlement first. Even if a trial does occur, appeals can be made. In turn, that’s why there is the post-trial litigation process.

What are the Steps of a Litigation?

There are several steps with this type of court action, which we list below.

Litigation Before Lawsuit

When you hire a litigator, you open up a case. This step is key, as it allows the lawyer to collect or to look at the evidence. They will collect enough evidence to compel the party to comply with the plaintiff’s demands.

Pre-Suit Negotiation

The next step will be to create a demand letter. This letter attempts to convince the defendant to comply with the plaintiff’s demands. For example, it could demand the defendant pay an invoice in full. The benefits of settling it before a lawsuit goes forth are monetary: in short, lawsuits are costly for both sides.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

The next step before a full-blown lawsuit is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). An ADR takes place in front of an independent attorney or a panel. It is much cheaper than a trial. The mediator will then work out a settlement.

The Lawsuit

The next step, if the issue hasn’t been resolved, is the lawsuit.

Discovery

Once a lawsuit is filed the discovery period begins, where both parties exchange evidence.

Motion Practice

This is an attempt to forgo the trial. The issue can be settled within the court.

Trial

If that doesn’t work, the case is taken to trial.

Post-Trial Litigation

Trial decisions can be appealed, so this bit is essential to officially close the case.

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