Plain Guide to Litigation: Preface

Plain Guide to Litigation

A DIY manual for novice litigators


The layout of this Guide follows the course of a typical litigation. After an introduction, the section on basic stuff deals with how a straightforward application is run, controlled by the Court. We then deal with written pleadings. These are dealt with under several heads: 1. General; 2. The Application; 3. How pleadings work; 4. How to set out the statement of facts; 5. Answers; 6. Adjustment and amendment; and 7. Practical matters.

The next broad chapter covers preparation for hearings. It deals with formal matters such as the Hearing Order. It covers the different types of hearing and matters such as the importance of pleadings in relation to hearings. It explains how parties should approach disputed facts. It touches on the importance of fair notice and explains how hearings about legal issues are dealt with. It then covers evidence, dealing separately with witnesses and productions. The need, in some cases, for intimation of legal precedents or statutory material is discussed.

We then deal with the hearing and subsequent matters, under various headings. We look at the aim of examination of witnesses and way the Court approaches the conduct of the hearing. We deal with how evidence from witnesses is taken, including discussion of leading questions and techniques of cross examination. We look at the particular difficulty you face giving evidence in your own case.

After most hearings the Court will have an inspection. After the decision you may have a right to appeal.

A major concern for most folk is the risk of liability in expenses and that is covered.

We stress the advantage of taking professional advice for parts of a case, at least. It is very valuable to have some independent assessment of the prospects of success. We also stress the importance of missing no opportunity to consider ways of settling the dispute without going through a full litigation. We touch on mediation which is a structured way to help people discuss things effectively.

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