How to file a lawsuit in court?

Does your employer owe you money? Does your neighbour regularly dump pool water on your property and there is no agreement with him? The child’s father is not paying you child support? Are you considering filing a lawsuit but don’t know how to do it? We can help you.

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What to consider before filing a lawsuit?

First of all, it is quite pragmatic to consider whether the matter can be resolved by some kind of agreement, non-legal solution or out-of-court settlement with the help of lawyers. Also, find out whether there is law on your side and what exactly you are entitled to. In other words, whether any action you may take will be futile.

Next, look at whether you will be able to prove your claim, i.e. whether you have all the necessary evidence. At this point , it is definitely advisable to consult a lawyer who can support you in this area. It is largely up to the claimant to decide where the claim goes and how successful it will be. Although the judge has the final say, he usually “only” decides which of the proposed evidence is to be taken. However, he does not (except in very exceptional cases) propose the evidence himself and will not support you in this respect. Discuss all the circumstances with your lawyer, including those that may play against you in court. It is better if you prepare for all eventualities and nothing surprises you in court.

Lawsuit and representation in court

Need help with filing a lawsuit or representing yourself in court? Whether the litigation is just beginning or the case is well underway, we can help you with everything. We will conduct a thorough analysis, assess your realistic chances and suggest a course of action. All this within 48 hours of ordering our services.

What should the lawsuit contain?

As the plaintiff, you must state who you are suing and on what grounds, and provide evidence. At a minimum, the complaint must contain the following information:

  • the court to which the action is addressed,
  • a specification of the plaintiff and the defendant (name, surname, date of birth and place of residence (name and identification number for a legal person)),
  • what the action concerns,
  • what is sought by the action,
  • a description of the relevant facts and identification of the evidence,
  • what is claimed (the ‘statement of claim’),
  • signature and date.

The definition of the statement of claim is absolutely crucial and requires at least some legal knowledge. It is a formulation of what you are claiming. The petition must be worded in a way that the court will decide. If you word the petition wrong, the court may generally agree with you on your case, but it cannot grant you what you want. Thus, it may be that while the law may be on your side and it will be obvious, you will not get what you want. So, at least on this part, legal advice is in order.

For example, the petition may read as follows:

The plaintiff requests the court to issue the following decision: ‘The defendant shall pay the plaintiff CZK 50 000, with statutory default interest at the rate of 8.05 % per annum from 20 January 2022 until payment, within 3 days of the entry into force of this decision.’

The petition may claim one specific thing or even several claims at once. It is also possible to opt for the defendant’s choice of performance, or to choose a contingency if, for example, the claimed item no longer exists. If it cannot be obtained, monetary compensation may be claimed.

What types of action are known?

Although this is not an official division under the Code of Civil Procedure, we can divide actions according to the reason or purpose for which they are brought. For example:

  • an action of excindanation (exclusion) – which allows us to exclude property from execution – if execution is not permissible in relation to that property. This is especially the case when the owner is a person other than the debtor (against whom the execution is being conducted), or when the property is owned by the debtor, but the debtor needs the item (e.g. medical supplies and aids, items necessary for business), or when the execution sale would be contrary to moral rules (e.g. a wedding ring) The defendant must be the creditor, i.e. the beneficiary, and the court decides on the action in a contested civil court proceeding.

Tip: We have discussed the procedure for excluding items from foreclosure and what can and cannot be included in foreclosure in our articles.

  • possessory action – this is an action that can be used to protect against unjustified interference with the possession of a right, in the form of an action for protection of the possession being disturbed or against expulsion from possession,
  • an action in replevin or negatory action, which is an action by which the owner seeks to restrain unlawful interference with his right of possession,
    an action in adversary proceedings for a declaration that the debtor’s act is ineffective,
  • astatus action (relating to personal status) – which includes actions for divorce, nullity of marriage, dissolution of marriage, nullity of partnership, etc., on the basis of which a decision is made that establishes or dissolves the legal relationship – typically dissolution of marriage.
  • adeclaratory action – which confirms an existing legal relationship, i.e. whether or not it exists. It requires the existence of an overriding legal interest, which the court should also address. This means that the resolution of the question which the action essentially raises will resolve the substance of the disputes between the parties.
  • anaction for the return of the thing, or an action for repossession, by which the owner seeks the return of the thing wrongfully withheld. In the case of immovable property, it is in practice referred to as an action for ejectment.
  • anaction for performance – by which we seek to obtain the fulfilment of a certain obligation arising, for example, from a contract – we want the defendant to give us something, do something, refrain from doing something, endure something – the content of this action may overlap with any of the above types of action. This may include, for example, an action for damages, an action for unjust enrichment.

From law practice: Mr. Tomáš contacted us with a request to review his claim. His employer gave him a notice of termination without any reason and in violation of the law and subsequently stopped paying his salary. Mr Tomáš described everything in his draft claim, which he formulated as a claim for a declaration that the employer’s termination was invalid. Based on the facts established, our lawyers agreed that his termination was wrongful, but as far as the action itself was concerned, it seemed more effective to demand payment of the wages owed at the same time. Accordingly, the submission to the court was amended accordingly. Mr Tomáš succeeded in the litigation and thus obtained a decision which would have gone a step further than his original intention, since he was able to claim directly the money which was due to him. This saved him the time and expense of a double recovery.

Court fees associated with filing a lawsuit

The amount of court fees is set by the Court Fees Act. The rates of fees for proceedings are set either as a fixed amount or as a percentage for a fee whose basis is expressed as a monetary amount. For example, in actions for pecuniary benefits, the court fee is five per cent of the amount sued.

In some cases, court proceedings are exempt from court fees. This applies, for example, to matters of guardianship, pension insurance, sickness insurance, unemployment benefit, mutual maintenance of parents and children, declaration of admissibility of taking or keeping in a health care institution and in many other cases listed by law.

Which court should I file a lawsuit in?

The action should be made in such number that one copy remains with the court and that each party receives one copy. For example, if you are suing your employer, you must serve the claim on the court in two copies. If you want to bring the lawsuit to the court in person, make sure you have one extra copy ready, because you will get a stamp on it at the court. If you are sending the claim by post, you will keep the delivery slip.

We determine the subject matter and local jurisdiction for each court. First, you must determine whether the district court (which is the rule) or the county court (where the law says so) will decide in the first instance. Local jurisdiction determines the jurisdiction of the courts by territorial districts. The basic rule is that the court of the defendant’s place of residence is the court with local jurisdiction.

Tip: We have described the types of courts and their jurisdiction in our article.

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Lawsuit and representation in court

Need help with filing a lawsuit or representing yourself in court? Whether the litigation is just beginning or the case is well underway, we can help you with everything. We will conduct a thorough analysis, assess your realistic chances and suggest a course of action. All this within 48 hours of ordering our services.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

Education
  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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