Information On Civil Cases

By Meaghan Kay Pferschy

Civil Cases

Civil cases have many terms that you need to understand!


plaintiff- a person who brings a civil action in a court of law

defendant- a person, company, etc., against whom a claim or charge is brought in a court

complaint- the first pleading of the plaintiff in a civil action, stating the cause of action.

summons- a call or citation by authority to appear before a court or a judicial officer.

pleadings- the advocating of a cause in a court of law.

pretrial conference- a conference held before the trial begins to bring the parties together to outline discovery proceedings and to define the issues to be tried. This is more useful in civil cases than criminal cases.

mediation- action in mediating between parties, as to effect an agreement or reconciliation.

arbitration- the hearing and determining of a dispute or the settling of differences between parties by a person or persons chosen or agreed to by them

trial- the determination of a person's guilt or innocence by due process of law.

preponderance of evidence- the greater weight of the evidence required in a civil lawsuit for the trier of fact, with a jury or judge without a jury, to decide in favor of one side or the other

verdict- a decision on a disputed issue in a civil or criminal case or an inquest

appeal- apply to a higher court for a reversal of the decision of a lower court