Understanding Civil Litigation in South Africa

litigation-imageCivil litigation is the process of referring an issue, dispute, or any other commercial matter to a court in order for a judge or magistrate to make a determination. Whether you are the plaintiff, defendant, applicant or respondent, it is important to know your rights, options and recourse available in South African courts when seeking to resolve disputes, collect debts, or enforce contracts. I will provide a comprehensive overview of the basic concepts involved in litigation. Every person should be familiar with this, even if you are not an attorney. The process of litigation, both criminal and civil, plays an important roll in the functioning of a civilised society, therefore the importance of having a good idea of what recourse is available.

A summary of the monetary jurisdiction is conveniently available on our website and will as such not be repeated. In addition, what the alternative dispute resolution process entails. Alternative dispute resolution is becoming more and more popular to resolve disputes between parties. With that being said, there are, however, numerous instances where approaching  court, or even summonses to appear is unavoidable.

Before one embarks on a process of litigation, it should be established what relief is sought. In other words, you should decide what the ideal outcome is that you are looking for. The relief sought when going to court in a civil matter or dispute, is usually a demand for payment of a sum of money owed to you, demanding damages or performance in terms of an agreement, which is basically the fulfillment of an obligation by the other party. This article deals with the main procedural steps in the litigation process. This will illustrate how the process can become complex fairly quickly. It is therefore recommended that one obtains legal assistance in litigation proceedings, in order to be certain that all the procedural steps are followed according to the rules of the court.

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