Going to Court

Going to Court

The court process can be daunting, especially if you do not have a lawyer acting for you. There are many people in this position, and they are commonly known as 'Litigants in Person'. There is little support for such individuals, but these are exactly the people who need the right information, advice and guidance to help them navigate the legal maize of court processes and procedures. 

Checklist for starting a claim

Before commencing a claim, it is important to consider the following issues, as embarking on such a process is both expensive and time consuming: 
  1. Is there an alternative way to resolve your dispute? 
  2. What are your desired outcomes - do you want these to be decided by a court?
  3. How are you going to fund the claim (what if you do not succeed and need to pay costs?)
  4. Will you instruct a lawyer or are you having to face the prospect of doing it yourself?
  5. Are you prepared and able to manage the claim?
  6. If you instruct a lawyer, how will you choose them and do you have the funds to pay their fees?
  7. Have you got insurance to pay for such a claim, and if so, are there any restrictions on what you can do and who you can instruct?
  8. Have you received advice as to the 'prospects of success' of your anticipated claim?

Once the above have been considered, the next step is to start the process of making a claim at court. You should seek legal advice about how to do this, and ideally should have a lawyer conduct proceedings for you. Once  you know what you have to do for your own claim, the following are general points which are applicable in a typical claim: 

  1. A claim form, or other court/tribunal application will need to be completed
  2. This will need to be lodged with the court or tribunal 
  3. The correct fee will need to be paid to the court or tribunal, if this is applicable
  4. If the other party is to be notified, then this will be served on them
  5. There will be a period of time for a response to be made by the other party
  6. A hearing or series of hearings may be required, or a decision could be made without a hearing
  7. The decision can be appealed in most cases, and there is a period of time in which this can happen
  8. Once the time for appeal has lapsed, the decision is final (unless there is no option for an appeal)
  9. There is usually a winner and a losing party (usually the losing party pays the costs of the winning party, but this is never the entire legal costs). The court/tribunal may decide that the costs be paid for in a different way, and costs can be disputed by either party
  10. The parties are formally notified of the outcome (known as a judgment)

General advice on processes and procedures
Links to Advicenow.org.uk

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