Streamline your tax compliance with our expert-assisted GSTR 9 & 9C services @ ₹14,999/-

Tax efficiency, interest avoidance, and financial control with advance payment @ 4999/-
Talk to a Lawyer

What is Civil Litigation? Stages, and Types

Civil litigation follows a number of procedural steps in order to arrive at the final judgment. Civil suits are mostly related to monetary transactions or property disputes and are mostly concerned with the claim for damages or compensation for losses.  


Civil litigation, with its multifaceted nature, demands a deep understanding of legal procedures and rights. This guide provides a roadmap for individuals and entities embarking on the journey of civil litigation in India. By adhering to the prescribed stages and seeking expert advice, parties involved can navigate the process with confidence.

When is a Civil Suit Initiated?

A civil suit is initiated when one or more individuals are accused of violating civil law, addressing wrongs committed between parties. These parties, also known as litigants, 

Laws Governing Civil Suits

Civil suits are predominately regulated by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in India. 

Additionally, various legislations, such as the Indian Contract Act of 1872, The Trademarks Act of 1999and The Transfer of Property Act of  1882, contribute to the regulation of civil law in the country.

What is Civil Litigation?

In essence, civil litigation encompasses those Acts and Rules aimed at providing remedies for civil or commercial issues. Generally, the end goal of civil litigation is compensation rather than punishment, as seen in criminal litigation. However, some offenses may have both civil and criminal remedies under specific legislations.

Stages in Civil Litigation:

  1. Filing of Plaint:

   The plaintiff initiates the litigation by filing a plaint, a legal document outlining the case’s facts and summary. This document serves as the foundation for the litigation, detailing the court’s name, parties’ details, case facts, relief or damages sought, and supporting documents.

  1. Issuing of Summons:

   Upon court acceptance of the plaint, a summons is issued to the defendant, prompting their appearance in court. The summon notifies the defendant of legal action initiated against them, and it must be issued within 30 days from the suit initiation.

  1. Appearance of the Parties:

   Parties must appear in court on the specified date. Failure to do so may result in an ex parte order in favor of the plaintiff. If both parties fail to appear, the court may dismiss the case.

  1. Interlocutory Proceedings:

   Interlocutory orders, akin to temporary injunctions, are sought by the plaintiff for matters related to the interim sale of property, detention preservation, or court receiver appointments, intervening in the ongoing litigation.

  1. Written Statement:

   The defendant files a written statement within 30 days of receiving the summons, addressing the plaintiff’s allegations. It is mandatory for the defendant to specifically deny each allegation and may include counterclaims if necessary.

Access expert legal advice with our online lawyer consultation. Resolve your legal queries from anywhere!
  1. Examination:

   The court records the acceptance or denial of allegations by the defendant after the filing of the plaint and the written statement, progressing to the examination of the parties.

  1. Framing of Issues:

   After the examination, the court allows parties to submit issues. The final set of issues is framed by the court after analyzing the draft issues, weighing the facts of the dispute.

  1. Documents Required:

   Parties submit required documents supporting their claims after the framing of issues. An application may be made to the court to obtain documents from third parties if necessary.

  1. Inspection and Discovery of Documents:

   Parties can apply for document inspection with the court’s permission, allowing access to necessary documents. Opposition parties may admit or deny the documents.

  1. Producing Required Documents:

    Following document submission, parties produce the documents in court based on their acceptance or denial.

  1. Examination and Cross-Examination of Witnesses:

    The critical stage involves the examination of witnesses. Plaintiff’s evidence is presented, followed by cross-examination by the defendant’s advocate. The reverse process occurs for the defendant’s side.

  1. Arguments:

    Once examination and cross-examination conclude, parties present arguments, summarizing their case and supporting evidence.

  1. Judgment:

    The court pronounces judgment after considering merits and arguments, based on which a decree is passed.

  1. Appeal, Review, Revision of Judgment:

    Parties dissatisfied with the judgment may apply for review within 30 days or file a revision petition to a higher court within the same timeframe. An appeal to a higher court can be pursued within 60 to 90 days.

  1. Decree Execution:

    The final stage involves executing the decree, where the decree-holder ensures the judgment debtor complies with the decree or order. Execution is considered complete when the creditor receives the due money or claims directed in the judgment order.


What are the stages in a civil suit?

The stages in a civil suit in India include: Filing of Plaint Issuing of Summons Appearance of the Parties to the Dispute Interlocutory Proceedings Written Statement Examination and Cross-Examination of Witnesses Arguments Judgment Appeal, Review, Revision of the Judgment Passed Decree Execution

At what stage do most civil cases settle?

Most civil cases usually settle before reaching the trial stage during the discovery stage.

How long does civil case take?

The duration of a civil lawsuit depends on the issues of the case, the amount of discovery to be conducted and court availability. Civil lawsuits can take anywhere from several months to several years.

What is the first order of a civil suit?

The first order of a civil suit is the issuance of a summons by the court, directing the defendant to respond with a written statement within a specified time.

What is the stage of the case for order?

The stage of a case for an order typically refers to the point in the litigation process when the court issues specific orders related to procedural matters, evidence, or interim relief. This stage occurs before the final judgment is pronounced and helps streamline the proceedings.

Can a judge dismiss a case before trial?

Yes, a judge can dismiss a case before trial if the plaintiff fails to state a claim for relief or if the plaintiff's claim is found to be frivolous or malicious.

What happens if plaintiff does not show?

If the plaintiff does not show, the case may be dismissed on account of non-appearance or non-prosecution.

How long does the average civil case last in India?

The duration of a civil case in India can vary significantly based on factors such as the complexity of the case, court caseload and procedural intricacies. On average, a civil case in India may take several years to reach a resolution.

What is the punishment for civil cases in India?

Unlike criminal cases, civil cases do not involve punishment in the form of imprisonment. Instead, civil courts focus on providing remedies such as compensation, injunctions or specific performance.

What happens after a civil case is filed?

After a civil case is filed, the court issues a summons to the defendant, who is required to respond. The parties thereafter present their arguments, evidence and witness testimonies during various stages of the litigation.

How do you win a civil case as a defendant?

To win a civil case as a defendant, you must present a strong defense, gather evidence to support your case, and convince the court that the plaintiff's case is weak or unfair.

What is final argument in court?

The final argument in court is the closing statement made by each party's attorney, summarizing their case and urging the court to rule in their favor.

What is issues in civil case?

Issues in a civil case are legal questions the court must answer to decide the case.

What is order 9 of civil procedure?

Order IX of civil procedure requires the appearance of parties on the date fixed by the court. It also prescribes the consequences of non-appearance.


Understanding the stages of civil litigation is crucial for ensuring a fair and transparent resolution. For expert guidance and seamless navigation through the complexities of civil litigation, consider the expertise of Vakilsearch. 

Our seasoned legal professionals offer comprehensive support, from document preparation to strategic advice. To ensure that your case is represented effectively, request a callback from our experts right away!

Subscribe to our newsletter blogs

Back to top button


Remove Adblocker Extension