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Module 7 Lesson 2 Mastery Assignment

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Rule of Law In Civil Court Cases

This will guide new clients through civil court cases. Civil lawsuits arise out of disputes between people, businesses, or other entities, and may include government entities.

The First Steps

A plaintiff, the person or party filing a lawsuit, will file a complaint with a lawyer against a defendant, the individual or group being sued or charged with a crime. The complaint is the formal notice that a lawsuit is being brought. The court will then send a summons, a document telling the defendant of the suit against them and orders them to appear in court on a certain day and time. The defendant may respond to the charges by having thier own attorney answer the complaint with a plea. The overall pleadings are the complaint and the answer combined in the civil court.

Pre-trail Discussions

The judge might decide to have a pretrial conference, a conference held before a trail to bring the parties together to outline discovery proceedings and to outline the issues being tried. It is to help clarify differences and prepare for a trail. The lawyers on both sides must gather evidence to help their case.

Other Options

Instead of going to trail, the case might be solved with mediation or arbitration. Mediation is where a neutral third party helps the plaintiff and defendant reach an agreement by intervening in the case. The mediator's job is to assist the parties' settlement efforts. An arbitration is where third party listens to the plaintiff and defendant, reviews that case and makes a final decision that is binding for both parties. This third party acts like a judge in their case. Parties who agree to settle their dispute using binding arbitration usually cannot appeal the arbitrator's ruling to a court. Both settle the dispute without having to go to trial.
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If a case does go further in the court system, it is sent to trail, a formal examination of evidence by a judge and usually before a jury, in order to decide guilt or innocence in a case. The plaintiff presents its side first then the defendant. The plaintiff must follow the preponderance of evidence, a standard of proof that must be met by if they are to win a civil case. This is based on the convincing evidence and its probable truth or accuracy. Once the case is heard, the judge or jury decided the case.

The Verdict

The verdict is the decisions in a case made by a judge or a jury. The court will rule whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. If the losing side in a civil case believes something went wrong in the trial, they can ask for a review from a higher court with an appeal.