What’s litigation?

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Trial litigation involves legal cases going to trial with specific procedures to be followed. Attorneys represent plaintiffs and defendants, and courtrooms are usual venues. Criminal cases require proof of crime, and some crimes can lead to prison sentences or even the death penalty.

Trial litigation is when a legal case or lawsuit goes to trial, rather than being dismissed or settled out of court. Whether it is a criminal proceeding such as murder or a civil proceeding such as a personal injury lawsuit, judicial litigation requires all parties involved to meet specific codes of procedure. Courtrooms are the usual venues for trials. A judge always presides over legal matters, and many trials have a panel of people to decide the outcome of the case.

In some types of trial litigation, one of the parties involved may request a jury trial. Most countries declare the person making the complaint the “plaintiff”. In the event that a community has filed a murder charge against a person, the people of that jurisdiction become the plaintiff. The “accused” is the person or entity who is at risk of losing freedom, money, property or some other claim as a result of the alleged acts that have been committed.

Throughout the world, attorneys, prosecutors or barristers represent plaintiffs and defendants during multiple stages of trial litigation. In a divorce case, for example, the attorney and her staff will prepare all the required legal documents, arrange for the paperwork to be filed in the appropriate court, and arrange for someone to present the divorce papers to the other party. The attorneys then represent each party in court during the trial.

The plaintiff must remain involved in the process for maximum benefit during the litigation stage of the trial. He or she can ask an attorney to summon or subpoena specific witnesses who can support any claims made. The plaintiff should also discuss with his or her legal representative any “surprises,” such as domestic assault claims, that the defendant may raise in his or her defense within the courtroom.

Trial litigation for criminal matters is slightly more complex but follows many of the same basic guidelines. Before the police arrest a suspect in most countries, they must have proof that the person has committed a crime. Then a people’s advocate, or prosecutor, examines the evidence. If the case is handed over for litigation, the defendant should bear in mind that he may be in danger of going to prison.

Some crimes, such as drunk driving, can require less than a year in prison. The actual conviction depends on the nature of the crime, the country where it was committed and the accused’s past criminal record. Other crimes such as sexual assault and murder can result in sentences exceeding 20 years in prison. Some offences, such as murder or treason against one’s own country, are considered capital offenses and may lead to the execution of the defendant under the death penalty laws of some countries.

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