Parties to the Litigation.
The person who commences civil action is usually
called "plaintiff". The party that is sued is called "defendant".
Occasionally, litigants may start an action by way of "application"
asking courts to determine disagreement between the parties, such as
interpretation of a contract or question on the ownership of property or
land. In this case, the parties are called "applicant" and
"respondent". In case, the parties are appealing court or
administrative board judgment to higher court, the litigants are called
"appellant" and "respondent".
The action is normally starts when a
plaintiff requires court registrar to issue document called
"Statement of Claim". The plaintiff serves the document to
all the defendants listed in the Statement of Claim. If
the defendants dispute the allegations or the amount of damages,
the defendants are required to respond with filing "Statement of
It is not a good idea for the defendant to
ignore the litigation documents, if defendants fail to file
Statement of Defence with the court before deadline (usually
twenty (20) days, however the deadline can be different).
If Statement of Defence is not filed with the court before the
deadline, the plaintiff may be able to automatically get default
judgment for the full amount of the claim without giving any
further notice to the defendants.
Sometimes, the defendant chooses to blame the
plaintiff or third parties in the same legal action or
application. The defendant may add additional parties to
the action by including counterclaim against plaintiff or
other parties in the defendant's Statement of Defence or require
court to issue third party claim against individuals and legal
entities not included in the original claim. Normally, the court
rules require that the claims against individuals be somehow
connected to the plaintiff's action either factually or
There can be more than one plaintiff and
defendant in one law suit. The parties can be individuals,
corporations or other legal entities, such as partnerships,
banks, non-profit organizations or unions. An individual
can choose to be self-represented, the courts almost always
require legal entities, such as corporation, to retain a lawyer.
Some litigation may involve hundreds of
parties either in the Statement of Claim or in the resulting
Counterclaims and Third Party Claims. It is always good
idea to contact an experienced litigation lawyer immediately
after receiving a notice of litigation against individual or