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Business & The Legal Process - Articles Surfing


Whatever business one is involved in, and since humans are opinionated creatures, there are inevitably situations that will arise causing disputes. This may be a simple misunderstanding, may be lack of provision of quality goods or services or even failure of one of the parties to adhere properly to an agreed contract, gratuitous or otherwise.

At some point in time it is likely that one will end up in a legal dispute of some sort thus I feel it is prudent to devote some time to this.

A standard legal process has nine steps. :

Jurisdiction * If a court is to hear a case it must have jurisdiction to hear the matter and the power to bind the parties.

Pleadings * they are the necessary paperwork for the trial to begin. The plaintiff files the initial paperwork, referred to as a complaint or petition.

In this paperwork the plaintiff will assert that the defendant has done a wrong and requests a remedy.

Discovery * Lawyers at this point in the process will gather together necessary information and witnesses before a trial. It is important to note that each side is allowed to see the evidence held by the other side. There should be no surprises.

Pre-trial conference * these are often held for federal civil cases and at this meeting lawyers and the judge try to organise and narrow the issues of the case to the most important ones to make the trial more efficient. At this point out-of-court settlements will often occur.

Trial * the trial is proceedings before the court. If a jury is selected the selection process is often referred to as voir dire. The jury decides the factual disputes and the judge interprets the law and instructs the jury. Should it be that the plaintiff's case carries no merit a summary judgement can be made by the judge, effectively ending the case without further trial.

Jury instruction by the Judge and the Verdict * The judge instructs the jury about the issues of law involved in its decision. The jury will then determine the facts and penalty within its authority.

Post-trial motions. This includes asking the court for a retrial and indicating why a new trial is warranted, the main reasons normally being errors of law or procedure, jury misconduct or unusual damage awards.

Appeal * Generally, each party of a lawsuit is entitled to one appeal at an appellate court. The paperwork supporting the basis for an appeal is referred to as a brief.

It is filled with lengthy arguments and with citations of prior court decisions and applicable statutes to make the case for a new trial.

Secure or Enforce the judgement * Basically speaking, this can be as simple as send the person to prison or collect the money.

Parties can of course, settle a business dispute without the courts and bring in a neutral peacemaker who has two main methods at his/her disposal.

Mediation * the mediator has a non binding authority to direct the parties to a fair settlement. The parties can, however, back out if they do not like the decision.

Arbitration * an arbitrator has the power to bind the parties of a dispute. The decision is final and there are no appeals and the arbitrators are registered trained professionals.


Submitted by:

Naz Daud



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Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).










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