Commercial litigation, simply put, is the process of making a claim through the Court system that relates to a commercial matter. It is essentially civil litigation but for the important distinction that one or both parties are a company or commercial entity.
As is the case in civil litigation, commercial litigation is the result of two or more parties engaged in a dispute, who have been unsuccessful in coming to a negotiated resolution, ultimately resulting in one or both parties instituting court proceedings.
The most common areas commercial disputes arise are with regards to contract disputes, employment issues, mergers and acquisitions of companies, recovery of debts and tenancy disputes involving corporations. Commercial litigation is an extremely broad field that often involves complex and even speciality issues due to the nature of the parties involved in the dispute. For that reason, it is advised to seek legal advice should you find yourself in the middle of a commercial dispute.
How to defend a Claim or make a Claim?
A Claim is, as the title suggests, exactly that, a claim. When starting a civil or commercial proceeding, a person or company who brings their case to the court in the form of a claim and a statement of claim is called the plaintiff and the party to whom the claim is brought against is the defendant.
A claim is an approved form under the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999, which sets out, briefly, the nature of the claim made and the relief sought by the plaintiff. To this form, the plaintiff must also attach their statement of claim. The statement of claim is where the plaintiff will go into more detail and should contain all of the material facts, set out in numbered paragraphs, to which their claim relies upon and identifying the legal basis for which relief is sought.
Once a plaintiff has filed their claim and statement of claim with the relevant court registry, they must serve it on the defendant. There are many ways to serve a claim and statement of claim; however, it is most common to engage a process server who will then provide you with an affidavit of service, proving the defendant has been served.
When the defendant is served, they must file and serve their Notice of intention to defend and a Defence in answer to the plaintiff’s claim within 28 days. From there, the plaintiff will have an opportunity to file and serve their reply to the defence of the defendant and must do so within 14 days of receiving said defence. If the defendant fails to answer a claim by filing a defence within 28 days of service, the plaintiff may seek a default judgement.
Suppose you are considering making a claim or have been served with one. In that case, we strongly recommend you seek professional legal advice as forms such as claims, statements of claims and defences under the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 must be drafted in the approved form and are subject to strict timeframes. Our experienced team here at Cornerstone Law Offices will be able to assist you, no matter what stage you are at in your proceeding. Fill in the form below for a free initial consultation.