What is litigation?
Litigation is the general term for the conduct of lawsuits and legal actions.
The name given to each type of litigation depends on the parties and the type of law involved: civil litigation involves companies or private individuals; an employment dispute is litigation involving employers and employees; criminal defence is litigation which involves criminal law.
Why is it important?
If you define civilisation as society governed by laws, then litigation has been around as long as civilisation. There is historical evidence that trials took place in ancient Egypt; traditional Chinese law dates back to at least the 11th century BCE; and classical Hindu law traces its origins to the Vedas, the oldest of which date to around the 16th century BCE. The processes of litigation have developed over a long period of time.
Litigation provides a forum for people to resolve disputes in a formal, respectful, well-defined, established way. Litigation allows people to make claims for losses that they have unjustly suffered, and provides the means for compensation or reimbursement.
Who should be concerned?
If you intend to resolve a dispute by bringing a claim in court, then you should understand the processes of litigation necessary to bring your claim.
If you find that a claim is being made against you, then you will need to know how to defend it, and the processes of litigation involved.
How litigation comes about
Litigation comes about when someone makes a claim against someone else. In every case, it would be simplest if disputes were resolved without litigation. However, the time, expense and stress of litigation can occasionally be necessary.
If you want to take a dispute to court, there is generally a limit to the period of time in which the claim can be brought. Different types of action are governed by different time and limitation periods.
When considering whether to make a claim, one of the first things to do is to check that the limitation period has not expired.
For example, if you want to make a claim of breach of contract, then for a normal contract (signed by two parties), the period in which a claim can be brought is limited to six years. If the contract is a 'specialty' contract, for example made by way of deed (that is, it is also signed by witnesses and uses the word 'deed' to describe itself), the limitation period can be twice as long: a claim can generally be brought up to twelve years after the claimed breach of contract.
For claims against negligence that led to personal injury or death, the period of limitation is three years from the negligent act or omission. Or, if the claimant finds out about the negligent act or omission later, then the claim can be brought up to three years from that date.
In the case of a landlord and tenant dispute over the payment of rent, a claim for arrears of rent should be made no more than six years after the rent was due.
What should you do?
If you have a dispute and are thinking about making a claim, you should contact a solicitor for professional legal advice.
On the other hand, if you find yourself the subject of a claim that you wish to defend, then you should also contact a solicitor for professional advice about how best to defend it.
How we work
Protolaw offers a professional, informative service to every client. We have regular meetings with our clients to discuss their case in person.
Our clients should understand clearly what is going on with their case. It's our job to guide you through the law, speaking and writing clearly and precisely. We use legal terms when necessary, but we don't pile on the jargon.
Our clients should be confident that their case is being handled diligently. With Protolaw, you will have a dedicated solicitor who will take care of your case, every step of the way.
Visit our website for more information, or pick up the phone and we'll be happy to discuss your questions in confidence. We are always on hand to help.