What is Civil Litigation?

15 March 2022
Litigation is commonly known as the main method, in England and Wales, by which parties seek to resolve civil disputes. Civil litigation is a broad area of the law which involves the resolution of disputes or claims between individuals, companies, local authorities and government departments by the court. The civil litigation process can feel complex, confusing and a little overwhelming, especially if you’ve never experienced it before. So, it’s important to make sure that you’re clued up on the process.
Image civil litigation process
Some of the most common civil litigation disputes concern an agreement between two or more parties and disputes caused by acts of one party to another, either deliberately or by reason of negligence. However, as civil litigation is such a broad area of the law, cases tend to vary in value and complexity. Here at John Fowlers Solicitors, we’re experienced in advising clients on all aspects of civil litigation and tailor our service to meet the needs of individual circumstances. We have the skills and experience needed to successfully seek resolution between private individuals as well as multi-million pound business claims. Below, we’ve detailed some of the key factors you should know about civil litigation.

What are Civil Procedure Rules? 

Under the Civil Procedure Act 1997, The Civil Procedure Rule Committee was formed to make rules of court for the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal, the High Court and the County Court. The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) outline the practice and procedures that must be followed in court in both England and Wales. These rules apply to all proceedings that take place in civil courts, as well as county courts and the High Court. Their main aim is to enable courts to deal with cases in a just manner. 

How Long Does a Civil Litigation Case Usually Take?

Once a civil case has been opened and the litigation is underway, there are a number of events that must be followed. However, the amount of time it takes to complete each event will differ depending on the case. In most cases, each party involved will aim to keep the cost as low as possible. With this in mind, all parties should act quickly so that trial and an outcome is reached as quickly as possible. 

What is Pre-Action?

This pre-action stage relates to the period prior to the court's involvement. Your solicitor should take the time to listen to your objectives and conduct a careful case analysis which involves gathering as much evidence and information as possible. This will allow them to advise you on the best route forward to help you achieve your objectives. Depending on the type of dispute, you may find that there are certain protocols that both parties must comply with prior to going to court. In some cases, the court can intervene and apply penalties if either party chooses not to abide by the relevant protocols. Your solicitor will advise you of all the pre-litigation protocols that you are required to follow. 

The Court Process

If there is no response during the pre-action stage from one of the parties or a settlement is unable to be reached, the litigation will begin with a claim being filed at the appropriate court. Depending on how much the claim is worth, this will impact which court your case is heard at. You’ll find that there is a timeline of events that the defendant must follow if they want to contest the claim. Your solicitor will be able to guide you through the entire process. 

The Post-Litigation Process

If either party has an issue with the outcome of the case, there may be some post-litigation processes to follow. Your solicitor will be able to guide you through this. 

For more information about civil litigation or if you need help with a dispute, get in touch with our experienced team today.