Litigation is the process of dispute settlement among the parties to a lawsuit. Parties involved in a lawsuit can be individuals, business entities, non-profit organizations, or State. In the process of litigation, Plaintiff is a party which initiates the legal proceeding against the other, Defendant with relevant allegations of fact which gives rise to cause of action, statement of damages claimed and prayer for relief. Such matters are heard before a court of competent jurisdiction brought by the parties to the lawsuit for dispute resolution. The rules of civil and criminal procedure govern the process of dispute resolution in the adversarial system of law or common law countries.
In the modern era, the process of litigation initiates the moment anyone takes steps to enforce or defend his legal rights by sending a legal notice or a demand letter by the attorney on behalf of his client asking the other party to compensate the aggrieved party for injuries or damages sustained by him. Nowadays pre-suit litigation activities are involved to save time and avoid the cost and inconvenience of a lawsuit in a legal proceeding.
In case the dispute has not been settled by initial negotiations then the aggrieved party goes for filing a formal lawsuit. However, there are serious consequences that can be faced by the litigants if not complied with the law of limitation or procedural laws, since the court of law does not allow a suit to be admitted if it is barred by limitation or if adequate procedural laws are not followed.
In general, there are different phases in a litigation process, i.e., pleading, discovery, trial, resolution of the dispute, appeal, and enforcement. However, at times litigation still continues after a verdict is rendered. Even when the jury’s verdict is accepted by both the parties, motions, hearings, and orders are necessary to properly close a case. Litigation does not end with the trial. It’s an ongoing process which can be quick and to the point or can stretch for years.