By its very nature, litigation can be a stressful process and an uncertain time for those involved. You will likely have been through an already stressful and worrying period, leading to your potential claim. The litigation process itself, be it in the Courts or Tribunals, is long, laborious and often daunting for claimants. Litigation can lead to experiencing unfamiliar territory, new language and terms, and requirements which make it appear complicated and perhaps overwhelming.
However, this should not put you off pursuing your claim and exercising your legal rights. Litigation should be considered a remedy of last resort in both employment and dispute resolution matters. While all litigation carries some element of risk, it is sometimes necessary to pursue your claim through the Courts or Employment Tribunals in order to vindicate your rights and achieve a fair outcome.
There are many reasons why a claim may need to be resolved through litigation. For example, in the Employment Tribunal process, if the ACAS Early Conciliation process has proved unsuccessful in reaching an early settlement, the next step in progressing the claim is to issue formal proceedings. In the Courts, the same applies if the pre-action protocol has been exhausted and the parties have failed to reach an early resolution.
If you have experienced any litigation process before, you will likely know how stressful it can be. However, we at Curzon Green aim to remove as much pressure from you during the litigation process as we can, to ensure it is as stress-free as possible. With our experience, we will guide and advise you on next steps and strategy throughout the process and will keep you updated on the progress of your claim as matters develop. We aim to do the complex work for you, but it is important to note that solicitors act on instruction, therefore there will be occasions throughout proceedings when we require your input and additional information from you to help progress your claim. To this end, if you are feeling overwhelmed, we will put in place ways to manage this effectively, and we outline some practical examples below. If you are feeling worried or stressed about 1) taking the next step in your claim and starting litigation or 2) an existing litigation matter that you have, then please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Dispute Resolution or Employment Team, so we can advise you on the best ways to help manage this where possible and talk through your concerns.
We appreciate that some claims may be of a sensitive nature and may be hard for you to talk about. We will support you along the way and if there are any ways that we can help put you at ease during the litigation process, (for instance, if you have preferred method for us to contact you regarding your claim, would like additional time and/or have preferred days or times to communicate) then do let us know and we will always try to accommodate this for you so far as possible. Additionally, if you are looking to commence litigation and have any queries regarding how to fund your claim, or if you have already commenced litigation and you are concerned about the future costs of that litigation, then do let us know and we can answer any queries you may have, so you can make informed decisions on how to proceed.
Top tips for litigation and stress
- Take early advice – even if you choose not to instruct solicitors for the litigation matter, we advise that you take early legal advice including in respect of the legal issues involved, the potential strengths and weaknesses and the litigation process from start to finish, to help you navigate through and to understand the steps.
- Know your time limits – time limits in the Tribunals and Courts are very strict. Knowing what time limits apply to your case is vital and will relieve some of the stress, for instance so you are not having to make last minute decisions or having to prepare in a rushed fashion.
- Be prepared – as we say, it will be stressful to litigate but we are very experienced in litigation matters and know what to expect. For instance, it is usual in litigation that a defence or response will be submitted by the other side rejecting your claims. For someone who has not been through the process before, receiving this may be worrying but you should not lose heart. In most cases, the other side will not accept your version of events and will deny them, perhaps strenuously; the other party will likely not admit any wrongdoing, and this approach is part and parcel of the process. There will be factual disputes throughout the process and it is up the Judge at the end of the process to effectively decide who is right. We can advise and guide you on usual strategy, tactics and what to expect.
- Seek support – whether through your lawyers to talk about the case, or through your GP, counsellor, therapist, family, or friends, if you are feeling stressed talking about it will always help. If feeling worried, we have found certain meditation and calming apps very useful. There are many forms of support available, and you should utilise those. We have outlined some of those additional sources below.
- Consider all your funding options – if seeking legal advice, legal fees should be considered. Check all and any insurance policies that you hold, as they may contain legal expenses insurance which could fund your dispute. We will discuss funding with you at the outset.
Additional sources of support
If you are experiencing stress during the litigation process, you should consider speaking to a friend, a family member or a health professional such as your GP about how you are feeling.
You must be mindful, however, that any legal advice our firm gives you and all communications between us, you and any third party regarding your claim such as correspondence with Counsel is privileged information, so should be kept confidential. Please note that this does not, however, prevent you from speaking to others regarding any stress or anxiety that you may be experiencing as a result of the litigation.
There are also a number of additional sources of support available to you from health organisations and support groups, who can often provide support via their helplines or by email.
- Mind (What is stress? | Mind, the mental health charity – help for mental health problems)
- Anxiety UK (National charity helping people with Anxiety – Anxiety UK)
- Samaritans (Contact Us | Samaritans)
Additional sources of information on how to identify the symptoms of stress and how to manage stress can also be found on:
- Get help with stress – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- How to Identify Stress | ISMA Stress Management Association