Some Basics of Civil Litigation

Civil law consists of a wide variety of legal disputes between individuals or organizations, usually to provide compensation to a victim. Opposed to criminal law, civil law does not invoke the state’s statutory power against the individual but instead attempts to rectify civil wrongs between its citizens. It provides a forum for citizens to remedy disputes without resorting to violence or revenge.

Thus, civil litigation is the process by which civil matters are brought before a court of law. It involves disputes concerning torts, contracts, probate of wills and trusts, property, administrative law, commercial law, and other matters between private parties.
In civil law cases, the burden of proof requires the plaintiff to convince a trier of fact (whether judge or jury) of the plaintiff’s entitlement to the relief sought.

This means that the plaintiff must prove each element of the claim, or cause of action, in order to recover. Unlike criminal law where the standard of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” generally in civil cases the standard is a “preponderance of the evidence” which is a slight tipping of the scale.

Premise of Civil Action

For a civil court to be able to render a judgment on an individual, it must first have personal jurisdiction.  Personal jurisdiction is concerned with where and when is it acceptable to make a person defend him or herself in a court of law. It is the notions of fairness, constancy, justice, and transparency through due process that keep the system working. Thus, personal Jurisdiction involves state boundaries and whether a court in a particular state can bind a citizen of another state.

Moreover, the court must also have subject matter jurisdiction in civil litigation. Subject matter jurisdiction defines and limits judicial authority by prescribing the class of cases for federal court. Unlike personal jurisdiction, states lines do not matter at all because state courts of general jurisdiction in that they are not limited to the type of cases it can hear.

Subject matter jurisdiction is concerned with the type of case, not the location, and determines whether your case is in Federal or state court.  This is decided by Congress as the legislators determine the guidelines by statute.

Lanigan and Lanigan P.L., understand civil litigation can involve a variety of situations dealing with relationships between people.  Although the litigation process can sometimes be tough and personal, it is important for you to be able to communicate your concerns with an experienced attorney. Contact Roddy Lanigan or Eric Lanigan in Winter Park, Florida, and put your mind at ease by receiving answers to all your legal questions regarding civil litigation.