Civil litigation is a legal process used to resolve disputes between parties, whether it’s enforcing, exercising, or defending a legal right. Within this realm, litigation lawyers play a crucial role in advocating for their client’s best interests while upholding the integrity of the court.
In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the various facets of civil litigation in Australia, shedding light on the role of a litigation lawyer, their necessary qualifications, the litigation process, alternative dispute resolution methods, settlements, and the appeal process.
Qualifications of a Litigation Lawyer
To be a litigation lawyer, one must fulfill the same qualifications as a lawyer. These prerequisites include:
- Completing a law degree from a recognized university.
- Undertaking an accredited practical legal training course.
- Being formally admitted to practice in their respective state.
- Holding a current practising certificate.
Failing to meet these requirements can lead to legal consequences, as it’s illegal to hold oneself out as a lawyer without proper accreditation.
The Litigation Process: A General Overview
The litigation process is a structured series of steps, including:
Initial Case Assessment and Investigation: Before commencing any legal action, a lawyer conducts a preliminary investigation of the case. This step aims to understand the issues in dispute and the client’s desired outcomes. Following the investigation, the lawyer provides the client with advice on their prospects of success and potential options moving forward.
Commencing Proceedings: Depending on the jurisdiction, court actions may begin with an Application or Statement of Claim, referred to as an originating document. Once instructed, the litigation lawyer drafts and files the pleadings, serving a sealed version on the other party. The recipient must then prepare, file, and serve their defense.
The Discovery Process: This stage obliges both parties to exchange documents relevant to the case. The formal exchange of documents, called discovery, aims to make parties aware of the evidence to be used and prevent any surprises at trial. It’s crucial to note that not all documents can be exchanged, especially if they’re subject to privilege.
Pre-Trial Processes: Parties commence trial preparation and may opt for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, such as mediation. These methods aim to resolve or narrow the issues in dispute before proceeding to trial. Engaging in ADR can save time, reduce costs, and lead to mutually agreeable resolutions.
Settlement Conference: Some jurisdictions, like the Magistrates Court of Queensland, require a settlement conference before requesting a trial date. During this conference, parties and a court registrar discuss and attempt to resolve the issues in dispute. The outcome may include written agreements or admissions to narrow the issues.
Mediation: Similar to a settlement conference but without the presence of a court registrar, mediation helps parties reach mutually agreeable outcomes. A mediator, generally a barrister, guides the structured process, allowing all parties to be heard.
Settlements in Litigation Cases: Parties are encouraged to settle their disputes at any stage. Lawyers may facilitate this process but cannot settle without their client’s instructions. The agreed-upon terms are formalized in a deed executed by each party.
The Appeal Process: After an initial judgment in a civil court, parties can dispute it by appealing to a superior court. The appealing party submits the required evidence and legal documents to commence the appeal process.
Seek Assistance from Experienced Litigation Lawyers
Dealing with the court process can be complex and daunting. It’s crucial for individuals to understand their rights and obligations, and the role of a litigation lawyer is assisting you. Litigation lawyers at Rostron Carlyle Rojas Lawyers have extensive experience in all types of legal proceedings, and they can assist you in navigating the intricacies of civil litigation.
Please note that the information provided is for general understanding and should not be interpreted or relied upon as legal advice. If you require assistance in understanding your rights and obligations in dealing with the courts, do not hesitate to contact our office.
Contact RCR Lawyers for Expert Guidance
Overall, the court process can be a confusing and overwhelming experience. It is important for individuals to understand their rights and obligations when dealing with the courts, and the role of a litigation lawyer. The litigation lawyers at Rostron Carlyle Rojas Lawyers have experience in, and can assist with, all types of legal proceedings.
The above information is intended only as general information and should not be interpreted or relied upon as legal advice. If you require assistance to understand your rights and obligations when dealing with the courts, please do not hesitate to contact our office online, or by phone on (07) 3009 8444.