One frequently asked question before litigation is carried out by a Litigator or a Lawyer is “How long does it take to litigate?”. To be frank, it is not an easy question to answer due to many factors. Before we jump to the answer to that rather complicated question, let’s start everything with the introduction to litigation.
What is a litigation?
Despite its familiarity in the legal area, litigation has a variety of definitions. Specifically, litigation means a pending lawsuit waiting to proceed in a court. In general, it is defined as any dispute between two people in which legal rights are at issue. However defined, litigation is a strange concept to many people. It can be a tremendous exhaustion on your finance and emotion.
How long does it take to litigate?
Alright, finally we are back to the main topic. The answer to the question (like most in litigation) is “it depends.”
Generally, a judge will take a minimum of one year to decide a case in a court of law. In total, the case will last in two years or more. In fact, there are also cases that take up to five years. A particular case takes time depending on many factors such as the number of law clerks who help the judge in a litigation, complexity of the case, the schedules of the counsel and the judge, the location of witnesses, the client’s persistence, and many more.
However, arbitration can take shorter than any action in court. Its schedule is decided by the Lawyers and the arbitrator. Hence, the length of the process is in control of each party. Depending on the complexity of the case, though, arbitrations may also last for several years.
Most disputes, no matter what the forum is in which they are pending, settle before a decision is reached. Settlement can happen at any time in the process. Several factors may take effects on the settlement of the case, starting with economic aspects such as legal fees and solvency of the parties to substantive aspects and operational aspects (public relations, business transactions, and changes in management). On top of that, there is also emotional aspect (i.e., the individuals involved would like to move on with their lives or businesses).
So, if you as a client impatiently asks the question “how long does it take to litigate?” to your Lawyer or Litigator or before you get angry because the case takes too long, just be aware that they may have little control over that. Be patient, the process certainly takes time, and the bottle neck is usually at the courthouse. The courts usually do the best they can, however, limited their resources are, but the result in many jurisdictions is, of course, a delay. Some find a silver-lining in this. If a case takes quite a long time, it could mean more chances for the parties to bring peace over the disputes outside of court and to reach a settlement.
Without an attorney, litigation may take even longer and cost much more, since the party who represents themselves tends to make mistakes that will cause more delays and expenses. Therefore, it is wiser that we have a legal assistance from an attorney (a Lawyer or Litigator) when filing for lawsuits and proceeding a litigation.
Sources: BP Lawyers Indonesia
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