What is Civil Litigation?
Civil Litigation is the process of bringing disputes to court to have them resolved by a judge. The Judge makes a decision on the outcome of the case based on the evidence presented by all parties involved.
Civil litigation may involve individuals, limited companies, partnerships or other legal entities.
To start a civil claim, you must file the correct documents in court. Some can be commenced with a notice of civil claim, while others must be filed with a petition. To be sure you’re using the appropriate document for your case, legal advice is recommended prior to filing any documents. These documents will inform the court and the people that you are suing and what grounds. The person starting the action is called the plaintiff, or petitioner in cases where the case was brought about by petition. Parties defending the lawsuit are called defendants, or petition respondent.
Having a lawyer aid you in the civil litigation process from the very beginning can be crucial to saving you time and money. A lawyer will ensure that you’ve followed all necessary protocols correctly, allowing the best outcome for your lawsuit.
There are four different court levels in Canada. Provincial, BC Supreme, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court of Canada.
Provincial Court oversees Family matters cases and criminal cases in solving youth aged 12-17. They also address traffic violations, Small claims cases involving money matters under $35,000. They also deal with about 90% of criminal cases. The Provincial Court of BC is divided into 5 main categories:
- Criminal Cases
- Family Cases
- Youth Court Cases
- Small Claims Cases
- Traffic & Bylaw Cases
Supreme Court of B.C.
The Supreme Court of B.C. deals with civil cases involving financial matters over $35,000, divorce and custody matters as well as more serious criminal cases.
Court of Appeal
The Court of Appeal will review decisions made by the lower courts. It is not a trial court and normally three judges will preside over cases, instead of one, like the other courts. B.C. Court of appeal is the highest court in the province.
The federal court is the National Trial Court of Canada and decides on legal disputes that have been assigned to the Court by Parliament. The Federal Court may deal with disputes that include:
- Claims against the Government of Canada
- Civil suits between private parties in federally regulated areas
- Reviews of the decisions of most federal tribunals
The Federal Court’s jurisdiction includes
- interprovincial and many federal-provincial disputes;
- immigration and refugee matters;
- intellectual-property proceedings (e.g., copyright);
- citizenship appeals;
- Competition Act cases; and
- cases involving Crown corporations or departments of the Government of Canada.
Understanding which court your Civil case will be heard in, as well as filing the correct documents on time will be imperative in assuring success for your Civil Court matter.