Civil Action

A civil action is usually bought following a claim that one side has broken their contract with the other. However, a civil action can also relate to duties imposed by the common law without the need for a contract. For example, a civil action can be brought if a person defames you or trespasses on your land. Unlike criminal proceedings where the State almost always has the role of prosecuting individuals who are alleged to have broken the criminal law, in a civil action one party takes proceedings against another party.

Most civil cases will be brought in the County Court, although cases concerning very large sums of compensation will begin in the High Court. The usual remedy for a civil claim is financial, known as ‘damages’. Sometimes there may be a court order instructing a party either to carry out a particular course of action or to stop doing something. This is known as an injunction. You can obtain the appropriate forms to start a civil action from your local County Court, but it is advisable to seek advice from a solicitor.

Taking legal action is often expensive but you could be eligible for financial support under the Community Legal Service scheme.

For more information about this see the section: Going to Court
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