What does Litigation mean? What is a Civil Litigation case in Singapore?
Litigation is the process of one party (person) taking legal action against another person through the Court system in Singapore.
Main Types of Litigation
There are 2 main types of Litigation – Civil Litigation and Criminal Litigation.
In a Criminal Litigation case, the State (or the authorities) takes legal action against an offender to prosecute him for a criminal offence that he is accused of having committed. Offenders who are eventually found guilty by the Court are punished with different types of penalties such as fines, community service, probation or imprisonment depending on the type of offence.
In a Civil Litigation case, one party (called the Plaintiff) takes legal action against another party (called the Defendant) to ask the Court to order a variety of different outcomes, such as to order the Defendant to pay unpaid monies, to pay compensation, to stop him acting in a certain way or to demand that he carries out certain actions.
Civil cases involve conflicts, disputes or disagreements between people or organisations and they very often happen over issues relating to money or the parties’ respective legal rights under an agreement they’ve entered into.
A Civil case usually starts with the Plaintiff asking the Court for help because he has been harmed or suffered loss as a result of the Defendant’s actions – the type of help that the Plaintiff asks for would depend on the situation he’s in. For example, the Plaintiff may ask the Court to award “damages” which is money to compensate the Plaintiff for any financial loss suffered, or he may ask for an “injunction” which is a Court Order that either stop the Defendant from doing something harmful to the Plaintiff or forces the Defendant to do something, or the Plaintiff may seek a “declaration” which is the Court’s decision on how to interpret the parties’ rights under a contract or written law.
To decide how to resolve the dispute or case, the Court will look at the facts to figure out what really happened and then apply the law and legal principles to those facts and then decide who should “win” the case and get the outcome that they’ve been asking for.
Civil cases can also be resolved by the parties themselves without the Court making a decision. The parties can negotiate and reach a compromise to settle their dispute – people sometimes choose to settle their dispute because they can avoid having to pay substantial legal costs if the case were to continue and they can also avoid the risk of losing at trial.
So there you have it, some basic information on what Civil Litigation is.