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What Is Litigation (Explained: All You Need To Know)

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What is Litigation?

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What Is Litigation

Litigation is a term used to refer to the process of contesting and resolving disputes in the legal system.

The term litigation refers to legal disputes, lawsuits, or other legal proceedings in court.

The term “litigation” is very broad and can refer to any type of legal dispute.

For example, you can have litigation in personal injury, divorce, or breach of contract cases.

It’s important to remember that litigation does not necessarily mean a lawsuit.

Although filing a lawsuit refers to a specific stage in the litigation process, legal disputes are not necessarily limited to actions taken in court.

You can have litigation between parties handled outside of the courtroom as well.

In a way, “litigation” is the entire series of steps that a person will need to go through to resolve a dispute starting from the investigation of the cause of action all the way to filing appeals, and “lawsuit” is the specific act of filing a court complaint against someone.

Keep reading as I will further break down the meaning of litigation and tell you how it works.

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What Are The Litigation Steps

To understand how litigation works, it’s important to understand the litigation process.

Fundamentally, a matter that is litigated is submitted to the legal system for resolution.

In other words, if someone files a lawsuit against another person, they will need to go through the entire litigation process, and ultimately end up with a final and binding judgment.

The litigation process can be generally broken down into five steps.

The first step is the investigation phase where the party and the lawyers will review the cause of action and assess whether or not it can be submitted to the court for resolution.

The second step is the sending of demand letters.

This is where a party formally requests something from another party.

The third step is the possibility of resolving the dispute using alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation, arbitration, or through direct negotiations.

Fourth, you have the filing of a lawsuit where a party legally serves the other party with a complaint and summons requiring the defendant to respond to the demand.

In this phase, you go through different legal steps such as discovery, initial motions, and trial.

The final step is the issuance of a judgment from the court and post-trial litigation that may take place.

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What Can Be Litigated

In any situation when the parties are unable to find a fair and proper resolution of their dispute, the parties can litigate the matter before the court.

There are many cases that can be litigated, such as:

  • Commercial disputes 
  • Family disputes
  • Claims against property
  • Personal injury disputes 
  • Employment disputes
  • Professional liability disputes 

Depending on the nature of your case and the applicable jurisdictional rules, the matter must be submitted before the competent court.

It’s best to consult a litigation attorney to better understand how to file a lawsuit and engage in litigation if that is what you’re looking to do.

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Litigation vs Lawsuit

What is the difference between litigation and lawsuit?

Although many use the terms litigation and lawsuit interchangeably, they do not mean the same thing.

Litigation refers to a series of steps that are taken before, during, and after a lawsuit is filed to resolve a particular dispute.

A lawsuit is a specific legal step where the plaintiff will formally file a complaint in court against the defendant.

You can consider litigation to be the entire journey that a person will need to go through to have a case resolved starting from the investigation, sending a demand letter, filing a lawsuit, going to trial, filing an appeal, and so on.

A lawsuit refers to the legal act when a person officially files a complaint against another person requiring the other party to formally respond to the allegations and demands.

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What Is Litigation FAQ

What does litigation mean?

Litigation is a broad term referring to the process of submitting a dispute to the court system for resolution.

In other words, in the context of litigation, different parties having opposing interests will fight to enforce their legal rights or defend against someone’s action.

Although many believe that litigation involves the court all the time, many litigation steps are handled outside of the courtroom, such as investigations, sending demand letters, out-of-court negotiations, discovery, and so on.

What are the different litigation phases?

The first stage in litigation is to have the cause of action investigated to determine whether or not a lawsuit can ultimately be filed with a reasonable chance of success.

Once the investigation is done, the next stage is for the potential plaintiff to send a demand letter to the potential defendant.

If the parties cannot settle their dispute, the potential plaintiff will formally file a lawsuit and summon the defendant to present a defense in court.

Eventually, the court will hear the matter and render a judgment.

What are the different litigation stages in court?

In court, a litigated matter will follow the different stages as governed by the applicable rules of civil procedure.

Typically, the first step is filing a lawsuit before a court with the jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Once a lawsuit is filed and the defendant signals its intention to file a defense, the parties engage in the discovery process to collect evidence to support their claim.

During the legal proceedings, the parties can file motions with the court on specific aspects that may be in dispute, like a motion to strike allegations, a motion to compel disclosure of evidence, and so on.

The parties will then assess the need to bring in expert witnesses to support their claim.

Once the expertise is done and evidence collected, the parties prepare for trial and go to trial.

What is the objective of litigation?

The main objective of litigation is to find a way to have parties reach a settlement or resolve their dispute.

A high number of cases are settled out-of-court.

However, in some cases, the parties cannot agree with one another and the final arbiter will be a judge or jury depending on the case.

In the end, through litigation, the objective is to either settle the case or have it resolved by the court.

Recommended article: What is a motion for discovery 

Takeaways 

So there you have it folks!

What does litigation mean?

In a nutshell, litigation broadly refers to the process of resolving disputes through the court system.

This means that when someone cannot amicably resolve a dispute, the matter can be submitted to the court system for resolution.

You can have litigation before different courts, such as federal or state courts, or of different nature, such as negligence, personal injury, contract dispute, and so on.

If you have a dispute with another party, it’s important to consult a qualified attorney to advise you as to your legal rights and obligations.

Litigation can be costly and can take a long time to resolve.

As a result, it may be worth exploring all your options before pursuing a matter in court.

Now that you know what litigation means and how it works, good luck with your research!

Civil action meaning 
Personal jurisdiction 
Service of process 
Out-of-court settlement 
Discovery procedures
Document disclosure
Trial briefs 
Summary judgment 
Discovery plan 
Cause of action
Author

Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!

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