Litigation Terminology

Allocation – the Court will decide on receipt of the claim form and the response which track is the most appropriate for the claim to proceed within the court system and allocate the case to that track: Small Claims, Fast Track or Multi-Track.

Alternative Dispute Resolution – is a dispute resolution process which does not involve the parties going to a final court hearing to resolve the matter. There are a number of forms of ADR including mediation and arbitration.

Appeal – once judgment has been made, a party may have the right to appeal the decision if there is a strong clear reason why the judgment is wrong or unjust through serious procedural or other irregularity.

Claimant – the person making the claim.

Costs – legal costs are incurred by parties in bringing their claim to court. These include legal advisors (solicitors and barrister) fees and other necessary costs such as the costs of an expert witness.

Counsel – this is another term used for a barrister who may be appointed to assist on advising and presenting the case in Court.

Counterclaim – this is a claim brought by a Defendant against the Claimant in the same proceedings that the Claimant has started.

Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) – are the rules which govern the Court process. They also have attached Practice Directions which provide additional information on the court procedures and process.

Damages – the award of money to compensate a party for loss and damage that it has suffered.

Defence – this is the document that a Defendant will serve that sets out which parts of the Particulars of Claim the Defendant admits and disputes, and also what alternative case the Defendant contends.

Defendant/Respondent – person whom the claim is made against.

Disclosure – the notification to the other party of all the documents which you have in your control in relation to the claim. Disclosure does not necessarily mean that the party is able to inspect the documents just that you acknowledge and confirm that they exist.

Expert witness – an independent party to a dispute who is guaranteed to give an opinion based on their relevant expertise as to the subject matter of a case.

Fees – Issuing a claim in Court will incur an Issue Fee. Further fees are due to the Court throughout the different stages of the case.

Indemnity – this is an express obligation to compensate for some defined loss or damage by making a payment to the other party.

Injunction – an Order that can be made by a Court to restrain a party from pursuing a course of action, or alternatively forcing a party to do something.

Interim Remedy – a remedy which is granted by the Court before or during proceedings. These are remedies which the Court can grant such as injunctions, declarations, or other orders for specific actions. If made they will probably continue to the final hearing of the dispute when the Court will consider whether to grant that remedy as part of the final order.

Inspection – the actual provision of documents which have been disclosed to the other party.

Mediation – this is a form of ADR that is often used. It involves the parties appointing an independent party to help facilitate a settlement. The parties and their lawyers will usually attend a without prejudice meeting to try and reach settlement.

Part 36 Offer – this is a “without prejudice” offer which means that the offer cannot be referred to by either party in court before the Court has made its final judgment. Part 36 refers to the Civil Procedure Rule (CPR).

Particulars of Claim – this is the document that sets out the facts of the claim made by the Claimant.

Privilege – where documents are privileged the party can refuse to allow inspection of these documents. For example documents created between the client and his legal advisors and correspondence between the legal advisors are subject to legal professional privilege.

Proceedings – the claim as it runs its course from claim form to trial.

Reply – This is the document that is completed by a Claimant in order to respond to a Defence.

Service – certain documents, such as the claim form, must be served upon (provided to) the parties. Service must be carried out in accordance with the CPR.

Settlement – where the parties agree to resolve the claim without going to trial.

Statements of Case – mean the Particulars of Claim and the Defence and Reply.

Statement of Truth – the CPR requires that some documents are verified by a statement of truth such as the claim form. This means that the person must sign it stating that they believe the contents to be true.

Time is of the essence – if the action is not completed within the time limits expressly stated then the other party may terminate and claim for damages.

Warranty – is a contract term which if breached gives the aggrieved party the right to claim damages or loss.

Without Prejudice – if discussions are conducted on a without prejudice basis, or correspondence is written on this basis, the content cannot be divulged to the Court until the final hearing has been dealt with or the case settled.

Witness Statements – these are statements from people who are able to give evidence on the claim. These are set out in a specific manner and in most cases stand as a witness evidence in chief. Many applications are dealt with purely on the basis of witness statement evidence.