The Litigation Process

Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols

You should only issue proceedings to resolve a dispute as a last resort when all other alternative means of doing so have failed. In fact the Courts will in some cases insist that you comply with a wide range of Protocols before you can issue Proceedings and penalise you if you do not.

A Pre-Action Protocol is designed to

  • focus the attention of the parties to the dispute on the desirability of resolving disputes about litigation
  • ensure they exchange information they reasonably need in order to negotiate an appropriate settlement
  • make an appropriate offer to settle the dispute
  • ensure that if a settlement is not achieved that the Proceedings are conducted without unnecessary delay

If there is no protocol governing the type of dispute you are involved in you are still expected to proceed as follows

  • the Claimant should write a reasonably detailed letter of claim enclosing copies of essential documents and asking for any the other party may have
  • the Claimant should set a reasonable timescale for the Defendant to admit or deny liability and for many claims one month considered appropriate
  • the Defendant should acknowledge the letter within 21 days
  • if the Defendant accepts liability he should put forward proposals to settle the claim or, if the claim is disputed he should set out the reasons why it is disputed and enclose any documents in support of that view
  • both parties should show a willingness to consider a settlement including Mediation or other form of Alternative Dispute Resolution

You have issued Proceedings!

The Courts are now under a duty to actively manage cases and will use a wide range of Case Management powers to drive a case to a Trial so the merit of preparing the claim fully before you issue Proceedings soon becomes apparent.

The Court can

  • extend or shorten the time for compliance with any Rule Practice Direction or Court Order,
  • adjourn or bring forward a hearing,
  • require a party or their Lawyer to attend Court
  • hold a hearing and receive evidence by telephone
  • decide to deal separately with any issue
  • strike out a Claim or a Defence if it considers that there are no reasonable grounds for bringing or defending a claim or where there has been a failure to comply with an Order

Click here to find out “how the Court will “manage” your Claim?”

We play to win while never losing sight of the need to explore by negotiation commercially attractive settlements that may represent the best outcome for you.