Litigation is the process of taking legal action by a business, or individual against one or multiple parties to resolve a dispute. 


Litigation in the courts should be used as a last resort and parties should initially consider other ways to resolve the dispute. The courts encourage Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods such as negotiation, mediation or arbitration before issuing court proceedings in an attempt to reach a suitable resolution before issuing a claim in the court. 

Under the Pre-Action Protocol (there are a number of protocols for different types of disputes), the claimant will send a letter of claim to the opponent setting out the details of the claim, details of the compensation claimed and provide the opponent an opportunity to respond. If the parties fail to comply with the Pre-Action Protocol they will be criticised by the court, including on the issue of costs.

Starting proceedings

Prior to starting proceedings, the claimant must check whether the limitation period for bringing a claim has expired? If a limitation period has expired, the claimant will be statute barred from issuing proceedings in the court. 

The claimant should also check whether the opponent is solvent and has assets to satisfy the claim?

The claimant can then issue proceedings in the court by completing a claim form and filing it with the court, together with the court fee and additional copies of the claim for all the other parties, for example each defendant. The court will stamp the claim form and either serve this on the defendant directly with the response pack, or send the sealed copies to the claimant to serve on the defendant within the appropriate time (4 months from the date of issue and this is a strict deadline). The defendant will then respond by either filing a defence, or an acknowledgment of service (see Civil Procedure Rules for strict timelines). After that, the courts will send the parties Directions Questionnaires to complete to manage the case and then the case will be allocated to the appropriate ‘track’ which is a court procedural route and will provide directions and further steps will need to be completed as the case progresses.   

Issues of law and issues of fact

An issue of law is an issue upon which the parties disagree and an issue of fact is where the significance of a fact, or facts are denied.

Before starting proceedings, the claimant must have a claim recognised by law and the defendant can challenge the legal basis of the claimant’s claim. If an issue of fact is in dispute between the parties, or they disagree on a fact, it is important that the parties clearly determine the important factual issues dependent upon the circumstances of the case and the court will encourage the parties to file a list of issues. A Case Management Conference may also take place will also help the parties to determine the issue you are raising in comparison to those your opponent is raising.

AJames Solicitors comprise a team of experienced Solicitors. If you need to issue proceeding, or if have been served with a claim form and need to draft a defence, contact our solicitors by visiting AJames Solicitors website for more information, or contact them on: 0161 791 6666/07729461166 for any legal queries, or send a message with your enquiry using the link below and a member of the team will contact you:


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