Litigation: What It Is and How It Works

Litigation is the process of resolving a dispute through the court system. It is a complex and often time-consuming process, but it can be the only way to resolve certain disputes.

When to Litigate

There are a number of reasons why someone might choose to litigate a dispute. Some common reasons include:

  • To protect their legal rights: If someone // believes that their legal rights have been violated, they may choose to litigate in order to enforce those rights.
  • To obtain compensation: If someone has been injured or damaged as a result of another person’s wrongdoing, they may choose to litigate in order to obtain compensation for their losses.
  • To force the other party to comply with an agreement: If the other party to a contract or other agreement has breached the agreement, the other party may choose to litigate in order to force them to comply with the agreement.

The Litigation Process

The litigation process typically begins with the filing of a complaint. The complaint is a legal document that sets out the facts of the dispute and the legal claims that the plaintiff is making against the defendant.

Once the complaint has been filed, the defendant will be served with a summons. The summons is a legal document that informs the defendant of the lawsuit and requires them to respond to the complaint within a certain period of time.

If the defendant does not respond to the complaint, the plaintiff may be able to obtain a default judgment against the defendant. A default judgment is a judgment that is entered against the defendant without a trial.

If the defendant does respond to the complaint, the parties will then engage in discovery. Discovery is the process of exchanging information between the parties. Discovery can include requests for documents, interrogatories (written questions), and depositions (oral testimony).

Once discovery is complete, the parties may file motions with the court. Motions are requests that the court make a ruling on a particular issue in the case. For example, a party may file a motion to dismiss the case or a motion for summary judgment.

If the case does not settle before trial, the parties will proceed to trial. At trial, the parties will present their evidence to the judge or jury. The judge or jury will then decide the case and issue a verdict.

If the plaintiff is successful, the court will enter a judgment in their favor. The judgment may award the plaintiff money damages, injunctive relief, or both.

Benefits of Litigation

Litigation can be a very effective way to resolve disputes. Some of the benefits of litigation include:

  • It can lead to a fair and just resolution of the dispute. The court system is designed to be fair and impartial.
  • It can provide compensation for victims of wrongdoing. If the plaintiff is successful in the litigation, they may be awarded money damages to compensate them for their losses.
  • It can force the other party to comply with an agreement. If the plaintiff is successful in the litigation, the court may order the defendant to comply with the agreement that they breached.

Drawbacks of Litigation

Litigation also has some drawbacks, including:

  • It can be expensive. The costs of litigation can include attorney fees, court costs, and the costs of discovery.
  • It can be time-consuming. Litigation can take months or even years to resolve.
  • It can be stressful. Litigation can be a very stressful experience for both the plaintiff and the defendant.


Litigation is a complex and often time-consuming process, but it can be the only way to resolve certain disputes. If you are considering litigation, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney to discuss the pros and cons of litigation and to develop a litigation strategy.