Disputes involving money, property, or property rights are often settled in Ontario’s civil court system. The Rules of Civil Procedure, precedent, and statutes such as the Evidence Act control civil litigation. The following is the typical sequence of events in a legal case:
1st Step – File your claim
The first step is to figure out if a claim may really be brought to court, and if so, where.
2nd Step – Laying the Claim
Upon the Court’s receipt of a claim, it must be personally served upon each defendant.
3rd Step – Addressing the Claim
In most cases, a defendant has twenty days from the date they were served with the Statement of Claim to answer to the allegations made against them, after which a default judgement can be obtained.
4th Step – Address The Defendant’s Response
If the plaintiff plans to prove a different set of facts than those stated in either the claim or the defence, then the plaintiff may be required to serve a Reply after receiving the Statement of Defence.
5th Step – Discoveries
After these have been accomplished, the parties will often commence the “Discovery Process.” Through this procedure, both sides can better understand the merits of their respective cases and the shortcomings of the opposing parties.
6th Step – Participating in Mediation
A mediator is a third person who tries to help the parties resolve their dispute by analysing their respective claims and defences and providing feedback on the relative merits of each side in the event of a trial.
7th Step – Documenting The Trial Plan
A trial record must be submitted to the court once discovery is complete.
8th Step – The Pre-Trial Conference
The parties and the judge will have a pre-trial meeting before the trial begins. It is not uncommon for the pre-trial judge to act as a mediator, providing the parties with their assessment of the case and the likelihood that it would be upheld by the trial judge.
9th Step – The Courtroom Showdown
As the trial date draws near, lawyers spend a great deal of time preparing for it.
10th Step – The Trial
The Justice Department reports that just around 2% of civil lawsuits actually go to trial.
11th Stage – Making a Case
A party may have the right to appeal a judgement if they believe it was reached in error of law, contrary to the preponderance of the evidence, or was otherwise inappropriate.