You can ignore a civil action

Don't be afraid of lawsuits | Tips on How to Be Successful
Go to court

You have a debtor who does not pay despite a reminder. Your tenant has vandalized the apartment and does not want to compensate for the damage? To land as a plaintiff in court, you really don't have to be a quarrel.

But even if you are sued yourself, it is imperative that you take action.

BILD explains what you have to consider so that your own legal action leads to success and what is important if you are the defendant in court.

What should I do if a lawsuit flutters into my house?

First, calmly clarify what exactly you received from the court. To do this, read the document very carefully. If it is really a civil action, a statement of claim is attached. This comes within Germany by post and always in a yellow envelope.

Danger! You will certainly have to respond to the lawsuit in some way.

When you are certain that you have received a lawsuit, the first thing to do is to clarify the deadlines that are important to you:

► Make a note of the delivery date on the envelope and make sure you keep it. All deadlines in a legal proceeding begin on this service date. You may have two weeks to defend yourself or even your first court hearing.

What exactly is a lawsuit?

A lawsuit is an application for a judicial decision by a civil court. This request is made by the plaintiff and is directed against the defendant. Not only in the district court, but also in proceedings before the administrative, social, labor, or financial courts, the introductory application to open a procedure is called a lawsuit.

Attention: Legal action is only used in civil law disputes. In criminal proceedings, the public prosecutor assumes the role of the plaintiff.

How and where do I file a lawsuit?

You must submit your application to the competent court. To do this, you can either:

  • draft a statement of claim yourself or with the help of a lawyer and hand it in in triplicate to the court or send it by post;
  • or let the clerk write a statement of claim at the court.

One of the three copies of your lawsuit will be for the judge, one for the defendant, and one copy will go on the court record.

Do I absolutely need a lawyer for my lawsuit?

It depends.

► As a plaintiff, you do not need a lawyer at the local court. Although it can also be useful here to get legal help with the wording of the application and also for subsequent letters in the course of the process.

► However, legal assistance at the regional court or higher-ranking courts is absolutely necessary. In principle, both parties must be represented by lawyers.

DANGER! Just not having a lawyer can cause you to lose the process!

Even if it is not required: In the event that you are the defendant yourself, a lawyer makes sense,

  • if you are absolutely certain that the lawsuit is unjustified and the other party loses the process. Because then they have to take over all legal fees anyway.
  • if you are unsure about the outcome of the proceedings, you need the legal opinion of the lawyer.
  • when you think you can't win. Then the lawyer will help at least to save unnecessary costs.

What must be in the application?

In order to be successful with a lawsuit in court, the application should contain as many relevant facts as possible and also the exact cause of the complaint.

  • Any evidence should also be listed here and not just in the oral hearing.
  • The complaint must be drafted in the language of the court, i.e. German.

These points must be included:

  • the designation of the parties, i.e. plaintiff and defendant
  • the name of the locally and materially competent court
  • the subject of the dispute or cause of action
  • the handwritten signature of the plaintiff or the representative (lawyer)

This can, but does not have to be, in the application:

  • the value of the subject in dispute or the amount in dispute, if known. This information is useful for the court to determine or redefine the jurisdiction or the precise judge.
  • if known, applications to the court can also be named.

Basically, everything should be in the application. Anything that needs to be clarified later could result in a delay in the process.

Tip: Make sure that it is complete. An unnecessary extension of the legal process is never in your interest.

You should pay attention to this!

What does a lawsuit cost?

As soon as you go to court, you will have to pay for it. If you have a lawyer, they will use a table to determine how high their fees are. This is based on the so-called value in dispute of the procedure. Added to this are the costs for the court itself.

Prescribed by the legislator

Who has to pay the costs of the procedure?

► If you file the lawsuit yourself and thus initiate the procedure, you will first have to pay for all costs. An advance on court costs must be paid when the action is brought.

Tip: Do you have legal expenses insurance? If the risk for this process is covered, you may get a refund.

► If you are sued, the reimbursement of costs depends on the outcome of the proceedings. Usually the loser bears all costs.

And what if I can't pay myself?

If you don't currently have the money to pay the costs, you still don't have to waive the lawsuit. You can apply for legal aid. However, you also need to show that you are needy and that your lawsuit has a chance of success.

The main aim of this is to prevent senseless processes. So for wanting to sue the state because you don't like government policy, you probably won't get legal aid.