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UK victims

Interactive decision tree

Interactive decision tree

Please use our interactive tool to understand more about the criminal and civil justice systems and how the two systems can interact. It outlines the main steps, and has been specifically created with the individuals and smaller business victim in mind.

Please carefully read about the main differences between the criminal and civil justice systems before using the decision tree.

Civil proceedings


If neither summary nor default judgment are available then, in the absence of settlement, you are set for a trial.

Pre-trial, there may be case management conferences or other review hearings to allow the judge to make any directions necessary and to ensure all the issues are being properly managed, including disclosure, costs budgets etc.

Before the trial there will probably be a disclosure process in which each party must permit the other to see documents in their control which the party either relies on, or which adversely affects its or another party’s case. During this period it is also possible for either party to request further and better information on any of the points on which the other party wishes to rely, or indeed further documentation if the documentation already provided is incomplete. Applications for documents can also be made against non-parties.

It is possible for the defendant to request that the claimant provides ‘security for costs’. This means that the claimant must pay a sum to the court, which will hold the funds in case the defendant is later awarded costs. If the defendant is not awarded costs then the costs are returned. This is only possible if there is some suspicion that the claimant will not pay otherwise.