Guide

What happens at a civil court case

Last updated: 29 June 2017

How a case is prepared

The lawyer representing the party bringing the action forward will:

  • interview their client
  • interview any other relevant witnesses
  • make a decision on whether there's enough evidence to proceed to a court case

If the lawyer decides to go ahead with the case, they'll approach the court offices to start the case formally.

Civil court papers will be served on the party against whom the case is raised, and any other party who may have an interest in the case.

If the case is disputed, the court will fix a date for hearing evidence. This means witnesses will be expected to go to court and tell the court what they know.

Different ways of proving a case

In most civil cases, the party or parties bringing the case forward need to prove that it's more likely than not, that whatever they are claiming is true.

This standard of proof is known as 'on the balance of probabilities' and is less rigorous than the standard of proof of 'beyond reasonable doubt' that applies in criminal cases.

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What happens at a civil court case
How a case is prepared