What are the steps in civil litigation?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The steps involved in civil litigation are not exactly the same in all cases and all jurisdictions.  However, the general steps are as follows:

  • Effort to demand redress before a suit is filed.  The plaintiff will typically demand that the defendant make things right before a suit is filed.
  • Filing of a lawsuit and serving of papers on the defendant.  This happens if the defendant does not respond to the request in the first step.
  • Discovery.  In this step, both sides have the power to compel the other to give them various sorts of information about the case.
  • Settlement conference.  Before the trial begins, the sides are typically brought together in hopes of achieving a settlement without trial.
  • Trial.  If there is still no settlement, the trial ensues.
  • Appeals.  The losing side can appeal the decision to a higher court or courts.

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