What is Litigation?

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When it comes to the world of law, there are a lot of different words that are thrown around. To the layperson, these can make the proceedings incredibly difficult to follow. The law has been built up over hundreds of years, and takes specialist knowledge in order to successfully manoeuvre through them. That is why if you want to bring a lawsuit to someone, or want to make a claim or force someone to do something legally, you will need to hire a lawyer. The process the lawyer will go through for your case is often referred to as litigation.

What is Litigation?

Litigation is a process. It has also been referred to as dispute resolution, which might help you understand more of what litigation is. In essence, litigation is conducted to 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 Litigation and Lawsuit?

A lawsuit is part of a litigation, but litigation does not always mean there will be a lawsuit. In fact, many issues are resolved without the need for a lawsuit, and can be handled simply by threatening legal action.

Why Would You Need Litigation?

Litigation refers to the entire process a lawyer will go through to help you reach your goals. Most litigations do not involve a courtroom trial, and are instead settled before then. Even if a trial does occur, appeals can be made, which is why there is what is known as a post-trial litigation process.

What are the Steps of a Litigation?

There are several steps to litigation:

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 is used to convince the defendant to comply with the plaintiff’s demands. For example, it could be used to demand the defendant pay an invoice in full. The benefits of settling it before a lawsuit is issued are monetary: lawsuits are expensive on both sides.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

The next step before a full-blown lawsuit is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which is conducted 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, fi the issue hasn’t been resolved, is the lawsuit.


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.


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

Post-Trial Litigation

Trial decisions can be appealed, so post-trial litigation is essential to officially close the case.

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