Litigation is a way of resolving disputes through the court system. Disputes fall into one of two following classifications: civil or criminal.

Civil Litigation

Civil cases involves a dispute between two (or more parties). Typically, both sides will be represented by lawyers, who fight for their interests and a favourable outcome. In a civil claim, you will either be:

  • The Plaintiff – you have brought the claim
  • The Defendant – you are defending the claim

Civil litigation is often referred to as commercial litigation. This encompasses a wide area of law such as breaches of contract, employment disputes, debt collection, shareholder disputes and neighbourhood disagreements.

In colloquial terms, civil litigation deals with matters that you can sue someone for.

Criminal Litigation

In criminal litigation, a charge is brought against you by the state. The state (also known as the Crown) may be represented by a Police Prosecutor or a lawyer from the Department of Public Prosecutions. In criminal matters, the parties are referred to as:

  • The Prosecution – represented by the Crown
  • The Defense – the person defending themselves against the crime

If the Prosecution (representing the Crown) is able to prove you are guilty of committing the crime, punishment may include a fine, imprisonment and/or various other penalties. Just as in a civil matter, in a criminal matter the defendant will typically be represented by a lawyer.

Who is a Litigation Lawyer?

Being involved in litigious proceedings can be stressful and uncertain. However, the right lawyer will make this process as smooth as possible, whilst also fighting for an outcome that is in your interests. A litigation lawyer (also called a solicitor) is the individual who will represent, protect and assert your interests in a dispute.

What is the Purpose of a Litigation Lawyer?

The primary role of your litigation lawyer in both civil and criminal matters is to assist you in all facets of your dispute. From filing documents in Court to explaining rules of law, your lawyer is your first point of contact for matters related to your case. They are also your biggest ally in the resolution of your dispute.

Another key role for your lawyer is to communicate with others involved in your case. This includes communicating with the other party’s solicitors/the police, arranging for barristers to appear on your behalf in Court and attending mediations and negotiations with the intent to pursue a favourable outcome for you.

Documents in Litigation

The preparation of documents is a necessary part of every legal dispute. An essential task for your lawyer is to help you understand both:

  • The purpose of these documents; and
  • When they must be filed in court and served on the other side

Some of these documents include:

  • Statements of claim
  • Affidavits
  • Defences
  • Further and better particulars
  • Discovery
  • Interrogatories

Finding your Litigation Lawyer

The ideal solicitor to represent you will have relevant experience and a personality that allows you to work together to fight for your interests.


Litigation costs can be significant. This may include filing fees, application fees, valuations and reports by experts and potentially barristers’ fees. These costs are known as ‘disbursements’, and are charged in addition to the ‘fees’ you pay your lawyer to prepare and argue your case.

Etheringtons Solicitors are experienced in all facets of litigation. We can help you manage the uncertainty and stress of your legal matter. Additionally, we understand that strategy and dynamism are vital parts of responding to the challenges faced by clients involved in litigation proceedings.

To discuss your matter with one of our lawyers, please contact us on (02) 9963 9800.