Litigation Lawyers in Chesterfield
In Chesterfield, New Jersey, "civil procedure" is a broad term that refers to all of the laws that regulate the process of civil litigation. Procedural law (such as civil procedure) is distinguished from substantive law, which regulates the rights and obligations that the civil justice system is designed to protect.
Like all laws, the rules of civil procedure in Chesterfield, New Jersey reflect specific values that society, through its elected representatives, wants to advocate. So, the rules of civil procedure have the stated goal of ensuring that the justice system is fair, cost effective, efficient, and accessible to everyone who has a legitimate legal grievance.
Chesterfield, New Jersey's civil procedure rules can get pretty intricate, however. They regulate every aspect of a civil action, from the filing of the complaint, to discovery, and all the way through trial and appeals.
Major Chesterfield, New Jersey Civil Procedure Issues
Complaint: The first, and perhaps most important, part of filing a lawsuit in Chesterfield, New Jersey is the complaint. The complaint is filed with the court in Chesterfield, New Jersey that's responsible for handling civil trials. It lists everything that the plaintiff (the person who is suing) alleges against the defendant (the person the plaintiff is suing). Typically, but not always, the end of the complaint will contain a "prayer for relief." The prayer for relief is simply a statement of what the plaintiff is asking the court to do to remedy the harm that the defendant allegedly caused.
Answer: The answer is typically the first document that the defendant files, and it is meant to serve as a direct response to the plaintiff's complaint. It typically denies all of the plaintiff's major allegations. It might also lay out affirmative defenses. An "affirmative defense" is a set of circumstances that negate the defendant's liability even if their conduct would ordinarily be unlawful. For example, in a lawsuit for battery, a defendant might admit that he struck the plaintiff, but claim that he acted in self-defense. If that can be proven, it would negate, or mitigate, his liability to the plaintiff.
Discovery: Once the complaint and answer have been filed in a Chesterfield, New Jersey court, the next major civil procedure issue comes up. Discovery is the process in which both sides of the lawsuit are required to disclose required evidence to one another. The lawyers for each side can submit written questions, which the other party is required to answer under oath, unless the information is privileged. Each side can also request any relevant documents, physical evidence, and can conduct depositions of witnesses and parties to the lawsuit.
Trial: Although the trial is arguably the most dramatic element of civil procedure in Chesterfield, New Jersey, it is truly extremely rare for civil lawsuits to make it this far. Civil procedure in Chesterfield is designed to encourage early settlement of cases, or dismissal of cases that don't have any legal or factual merit. However, in the rare cases when the case is not dismissed, and the parties can't reach a settlement, the matter will go to trial. A trial is the most visible aspect of civil litigation, and it is the stage when all of the legal and factual questions raised by both parties are resolved by a judge and jury, respectively.
How Can a Chesterfield, New Jersey Lawyer Help?
If you're facing any substantial legal issue in Chesterfield, New Jersey, you can be pretty much certain that you'll face at least a few procedural complications that can hold up the process.
It should go without saying that you should have a Chesterfield, New Jersey attorney on hand to deal with any civil procedure issues that you're almost certain to face, if you're engaged in a lawsuit.