Civil disputes are private cases in which a party is seeking recompense or remedy for scenarios outside of criminal law.
Civil disputes are governed by The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). They are the framework for all civil claims and provide the rules that are used to pass judgement in these types of cases. They were specifically designed to simplify civil legal proceedings, both in time and cost, and critically provide a guide to behaviour and aid judgement where no specific law exists.
But judgement in court for these cases may not be necessary. Unlike criminal cases, in which the government prosecutes someone for violating a criminal statute with the penalty being imprisonment or fines, a civil claim is made by an individual and therefore they may settle the dispute by any means they deem appropriate, possibly avoiding court altogether. Mediation is a great fit for civil disputes. The flexible and conciliatory nature of mediation means that it can be applied in all sorts of civil proceedings and often achieve a more positive outcome than a court ruling.
Common Types of Civil Dispute
There are many types of civil disputes. Most commonly encountered are:
- Personal injury
- Breach of contract
- Family law
- Property disputes
- Landlord and tenant disputes
- Workplace mediation
- Neighbour disputes
- Intellectual property disputes
The average person may encounter one of these cases as either the claimant, the defendant or a witness to another person’s case.
A person injured as a result of the negligent conduct of another individual, may wish to seek compensation. Commonly arising from motor vehicle accidents, accidental injuries or defective products, negligence resulting in personal injury is a frequent reason for civil disputes.
Breach of Contract
When one contracted party fails to perform its obligations under the terms of a contract, breach of the contract may be sought under civil terms.
Disputes and conflicts arising from family relationships are the types of civil litigation cases that most people have had some experience with at some time in their lives. Separations, child support and monetary arrangements are types of disputes commonly found under this banner.
Boundaries and rights of way are just a couple of areas of property ownership that can be disputed. The damage and subsequent reparation in these types of disputes, might be more than just monetary.
Landlord and Tenant Disputes
Designed to protect both the tenant and the landlord, there are many rules around the governance of property lettings. Disputes as a result are common, particularly in relation to a party’s failure to comply with the terms of a lease and failure to meet tenant standards.
Workplace conflict is commonplace but managed poorly it can quickly escalate into a dispute. Cases citing lack of opportunity, inadequate training and unfair treatment may benefit from mediation.
When choosing a home, people rarely consider their neighbours and the fact that standards of acceptability vary from individual to individual. As a result, disputes can often arise.
Intellectual Property Disputes
Intellectual property (IP) is within the remit of criminal law but often borders civil claims. In both scenarios, mediation may be a feasible way of reaching a resolution to a dispute.