Below we’re covering everything that you need to know about civil litigation.
Each stage presents a different challenge and technicals issues.
Establishing whether you have a claim
There are a variety of types of possible civil claims. A few could be the event of being injured or defamed; be owed money and that hasn’t been paid; contracted a disease from your workplace.
In each of those cases, the first move is to establish whether or not you have a claim. This can be done through obtaining the advice of a solicitor – it is their job to consider the law paired with the relevant facts and decide whether you may have a valid claim against someone else.
Assembling your case
If your solicitor believes that you have a valid claim, the next step is for you is to instruct your solicitor and agree on an amount. In some cases, you and your solicitor may agree to use a ‘no win, no fee’ conditional cost arrangement.
Your solicitor will then start combining various elements of your case and interview witnesses as well as prepare witness statements and prepare relevant documents. There may also be the requirement of physical evidence such as photographs etc.
Pre-action correspondence, negotiation and protocols
This stage, pre-action, is of the most vital of your case. Civil litigation is governed by pre-action protocols – these are essentially court rules that govern the conduct of the parties prior any issue to formal court proceedings.
There are different protocols that are applied to different claims (personal injury, debt collection etc), there is also a court practice direction on pre-action conduct that generally applies in all civil litigation matters.
Pre-action rules require that the claimant should provide the defendant with a detailed ‘letter before claim’ setting out the claimant’s case. This also gives the defendant an opportunity to reply/respond.
From this, both parties will gain an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each side of the case.