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Ch 5: Legal Procedures

About This Chapter

Watch legal procedures video lessons and learn about pretrial proceedings, appeals, criminal trial juries, and more. These video lessons are short and engaging and make learning easy!

Legal Procedures - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

The legal system is set up with certain proceedings in place in order to ensure fair process for all parties involved. In this chapter, our instructor will explain the procedures involved in civil and criminal litigation, including pretrial pleadings, motions, jury selection, and appeals. The lessons will include examples from real lawsuits to help you learn and remember the concepts. You'll learn about legal terms like voir dire and hung jury. This chapter is designed to teach you about:

  • How a lawsuit begins and the pretrial proceedings
  • The steps of civil litigation
  • The function of juries in criminal lawsuits
  • How a jury is selected and what a hung jury is
  • Legal terminology used in legal procedures

VideoObjective
Starting a Lawsuit: Parties and Beginning the Process Understand the roles of plaintiff and defendant and how complaints, summons, and personal service start the legal process.
Threshold Requirements: Standing, Case or Controversy, and Ripeness Explore the requirements needed to begin a lawsuit.
Pretrial Pleadings and Service of Process in Civil Litigation Learn about the proceedings that occur before the trial, like informal negotiations and summons.
Defendant's Response and Motions in Civil Litigation Understand the steps of pleadings, like counterclaims and motions, that occur before the actual trial.
Jury Trial and Selection in Civil Litigation Explore the process of voir dire, how juries are chosen, and the jury's role in the trial.
Delivering a Verdict in Civil Litigation Learn how the verdict is delivered and define terms like burden of proof, preponderance of the evidence, and hung jury.
Civil Appeals Process: Parties, Briefs, and Oral Arguments Understand the proceedings of the court after the verdict is heard.

7 Lessons in Chapter 5: Legal Procedures
Starting a Lawsuit: Parties & Beginning Process

1. Starting a Lawsuit: Parties & Beginning Process

There are two parties to a lawsuit: the plaintiff, who initiates the lawsuit, and the defendant, who defends against the allegations waged against him. A lawsuit is a process that involves several steps beginning with the filing of a complaint and ending with a judge's or jury's decision.

Threshold Requirements: Standing, Case or Controversy & Ripeness

2. Threshold Requirements: Standing, Case or Controversy & Ripeness

Threshold requirements are conditions that a plaintiff must meet in order to take another person or entity to court. There are threshold requirements for standing, case and controversy and ripeness. With all three, the court will require answers to specific questions to determine whether legal action can be taken against a party.

Pretrial Pleadings & Service of Process in Civil Litigation

3. Pretrial Pleadings & Service of Process in Civil Litigation

Before a trial begins, there are several pleadings a plaintiff and defendant must file with the court to set a lawsuit into motion and this is known as the pretrial stage of a trial. Some common pleadings include a complaint, summons, motion to dismiss and motion for judgment.

Defendant's Response & Motions in Civil Litigation

4. Defendant's Response & Motions in Civil Litigation

Once a plaintiff initiates a civil lawsuit, the defendant must respond within a certain period of time depending on the particular state's requirements. The defendant responds by answering the complaint or filing a motion with the court.

Jury Trial and Selection in Civil Litigation

5. Jury Trial and Selection in Civil Litigation

When a civil action leads to a trial, a jury is selected. The selection process general involves the parties or attorneys for the parties to question potential jurors from a pool of jury candidates. Once a jury is selected, the jury trial moves through various steps ending in a final decision.

Delivering a Verdict in Civil Litigation

6. Delivering a Verdict in Civil Litigation

In any court case, the end result is a verdict. However, there are several roads that lead to the verdict, including motion to dismiss, directed verdict, special verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

Civil Appeals Process: Parties, Briefs & Oral Arguments

7. Civil Appeals Process: Parties, Briefs & Oral Arguments

The civil appeals process allows for a losing party to a lawsuit to request a higher court to review the decision to determine whether legal errors were made during the original trial.

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