Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 28th 2014 Contents A13
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BEST VILLAGE DANCE
Before you sue:
Many persons turn to the courts as a remedy
where they feel aggrieved or wronged. Before mak-
ing the decision to pursue litigation, there are several
factors you should consider.
The first step is to identify what type of action
you expect from the proposed defendant. This may
include an apology or explanation, an assurance or
undertaking that the 'wrong' would not reoccur, or
A decision whether or not a case should be taken
forward is a question of balancing the financial and
other risks involved against the benefits. Litigation
can be unpredictable both as to outcome and costs.
Even if you have complete confidence in your case,
there is no such thing as a "sure thing" when it comes
Some of the factors you should consider are:
• Might the dispute be settled early? Will the other
side fight all the way, or is it likely that a settlement
can be reached?
• If the claim succeeds will the other side be able
to pay the compensation?
• Will expensive expert evidence be needed?
The legal position may be complicated. You should
consult an attorney-at-law as soon as possible for
guidance with regards to the strengths and weaknesses
of the proposed claim.
Pre-action protocols require a "cards on the table
approach". Information and evidence must be
exchanged early. You are expected to explore every
avenue to resolve the case. This includes mediation
and negotiation. Failure to do this may result in heavy
penalties being imposed by the court. This therefore
requires early investigation of the facts, analysis of
the law, gathering documents and instructions of
Generally you have 4 years to bring a civil claim/
action against a defendant. This is known as the lim-
itation period. This period varies depending on the
type of claim. The date that the time begins to run
is established by taking the date of the loss that you
suffered. Once this time has passed, the claim becomes
barred by law.
You should consider who your witnesses will be.
Your attorney-at-law will need to interview them
and prepare witness statements ideally while their
recollection of the facts is still fresh.
A court case starts with one side in a dispute filing
a claim in the Magistrates' Court or the High Court.
Details are then sent to the defendant. The defendant
can admit liability, make an offer to settle or defend
The court will give directions for the hearing includ-
ing setting out a timetable. Each side will need to
disclose relevant documents to each other before the
hearing. Missing any deadlines may mean that you
may lose the right to continue the claim.
You should be prepared to compromise both before
and during any court case. The parties can settle
either in or out of court, at any time before judg-
A good attorney-at-law will be able to provide a
clear explanation of the legal position and an indication
of the likely expense that you may incur.
This column is not legal advice. If you have a
legal problem, you should consult a legal adviser.
Co-ordinator: Roshan Ramcharitar
Members of the Diego
Martin dance group
perform during the
semi-finals of the
Prime Minister's Best
Village folk dance
Tuesday at the
Naparima Bowl, San
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