If you have a dispute with another party and you’re not too sure what to do about it, then St Helens Law can help you. We can guide you through the litigation process so you have the knowledge and understanding of what litigation is and what it means for you.
So, what is litigation? In a nutshell, litigation is the process of taking legal action – meaning your dispute will be resolved through the legal court system. If you can’t agree with the other party – or parties – on a resolution that is amenable to everyone, then the courts are an effective and fair way of dealing with it.
All litigation proceedings are governed by the Civil Procedure Rules 1998, which inform all aspects of the process. These rules set out time limits within which certain steps need to be undertaken, the correct forms to use and the obligations of the parties involved – with the overriding objective being that disputes are resolved justly and as efficiently as possible.
Although it can sometimes be a lengthy and complex process, there are a number of advantages to going down this route, including:
Sometimes alternatives to litigation, such as arbitration, rely on the co-operation of parties involved, which can be difficult. By going down the litigation route, you can be assured that co-operation is court-mandated, so any deadlines and requirements have to be met. The court also has the power of summary dismissal – meaning if there is no validity to the dispute, the court will dismiss it.
- Public record
This is an advantage, especially if the litigation is regarding your business activities. Having a public record of the court proceedings, and ultimately the judgment means there is a line drawn in the sand setting the record straight. This can be particularly useful if your dispute quickly gains publicity across various media platforms, such as social media.
Once litigation goes through the courts, it provides a lasting precedent, which is described as ‘an earlier event or action that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent, similar circumstances’. This means that you can point to previous rulings in similar cases and use that case to bolster your argument. So a precedent has powerful use in dispute resolutions.
It shouldn’t be presumed that it costs more to take a dispute to court than going down one of the other, seemingly inexpensive, routes. If the dispute is something that can be dealt with quickly, then this is going to cost less than arbitration. Complex cases can also run to similar costs of arbitration.
The rules within the courts regarding evidence are stricter than in other alternative ways to resolve a dispute. If you are presenting a strong case, this is of advantage to you, as it leaves no room for speculation and conjecture – an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information.
Regardless of whether the result rules in your favour or not, the fact remains that there will be a result – officially on-court record. Whereas alternatives can break down and a resolution never reached, litigation will have a result, and therefore finality.
Choosing litigation means you will have the chance to appeal. This is good for you if you didn’t originally get the result you wanted, but bad if there is a chance a result previously ruled in your favour could be overturned.
If you find yourself in a dispute and you feel like litigation is the route that will suit you the best, or you’re not sure what the correct route is, then give us a call here at St Helens Law on 01744 742360 or request your free consultation here.