Have you been in a court case with your neighbor or a friend but don’t know how to go about with it? Well, you don’t need to cram the whole Nigerian constitution to win a court case in Nigeria.
The modern world offers us special institutions that settle feuds, disputes, quarrels and breach(es) in contracts. This place is called a law court. But not because a plaintiff takes another person to court doesn’t mean he will win the lawsuit.
In most civil and civilian cases, citizens leave their fate and outcome in the hands of lawyers and other law firms. This is what is expected of them but this is usually the wrong approach.
In a legal proceeding, the judge and jury usually hear the accused or the plaintiff plead their case and if not properly stated this could cost them the case, meaning you leave it all to that lawyer praying for “objections and overrules” you are probably going to lose the case.
For this article, I’ll be teaching you the recommended ways and procedure which would help you win a civil case effectively.
What is the concept of law & civil law all about?
According to the oxford advanced learner’s dictionary, the law is the system of rules which a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and which it may enforce by the imposition of penalties.
Emperor Justinian ruled ancient Rome from 527 A.D. to 565 A.D. One of his lasting legacies is his rewriting the Roman law in “Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law)” which till date serve as a basis for modern civil laws worldwide.
Civil law is derived from the laws of ancient Rome, it used doctrines to develop a code that determines how legal issues would be decided.
Civil law is simply a body of rules that defines and protects the private rights of citizens, offers legal remedies that may be in a dispute and covers areas of law such as contracts, property, torts and family law.
How To Win A Court Case
Ok, let’s go into the details. Using this technique, you can be able to come off on top in any civil case either the plaintiff or the defendant. Civil cases/lawsuits are mostly about seeking monetary compensation for damages or injuries sustained, and not about finding a guilty party. These are short tips that will help you win court cases.
- Show the jury proofs an evidence of your innocence till it gets “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” and the court supports your claim.
- A rational person would believe that the defendant is guilty of the crime. Although the standard of proof is higher in criminal law proceedings, you also need proof in civil cases to prove your innocence to the judge and jury.
- Do not drag a person to court for revenge or out of spite. A good judge won’t pay attention to the case.
- There is a fundamental belief that convicting an innocent person is worse than allowing a guilty person to go free, so use this in your favor.
- Think outside the box. Disclosure, the process of making evidence and other documents available to the people involved in a legal case. Make use of every asset at your disposal to make the proceedings turn to your favor.
- The preponderance of Evidence. The standard of proof in most civil cases, the jury has to find for the party that has stronger evidence, even if it is just marginally stronger than the other side.
During the trial, your side will need present evidence, argue persuasively and present your case most compellingly to obtain a victory. Meaning that if 51% of the evidence acquired favors your case then you should win.
Evidence and witnesses are key attributes in legal proceedings. It is also one of the most recommended ways to win a court case without a lawyer.
- Statistics show that with proper evidence and key witness(es), you have a 67% chance of winning a lawsuit.
In England and Wales, a preliminary court hearing to decide whether an offense will be heard at the Magistrates’ Court or the
Crown Court. In Nigeria, most civil and even more criminal cases are settled in police stations and both the plaintiff and defendant have to gather evidence and witnesses. But are questioned by the judge and in unusual cases the police officer.
In the United States of America, the state or private individuals hire detective(s). No matter the location, the evidence is an essential feature of a court proceeding and getting the right piece gives you an upper hand in civil cases. Get good evidence and you’re sure to win.
- Stare Decisis:
This is a doctrine that requires judges to use prior cases as precedent on which to decide current cases. I.e. Case Laws. Judge-made law that is found in collections of reported cases has often been used in new cases.
Making references to previous case laws have been proved to reduce the pressure mounted on you. 41% of cases with which the proceedings have been placed on trial with previous case laws have turned out to have a good outcome and there is a reduced probability of dissent and less mistrial.
So, find a case law/ Stare Decisis that points in your favor and use it.
- Get a good lawyer:
Civil lawsuits are often very complicated and require a level of specialized knowledge to proceed.
Although there are a lot of quacks out there, you should be able to discern who from whom and what form somewhat. Check their background, records, win, and loss, etc, hire, go through the legal process and also towards a successful conclusion.
A good lawyer/barrister/solicitor/attorney can get you to that Successful conclusion. To get that 51% chance, you and your attorney will need to effectively navigate the pre-trial procedures, gather evidence, hire experts and best prepare your case for the best and/or a successful outcome.
- Listen to Your Advisers
When you’ve been dragged to court for known or unknown crimes, you’ll want to pay close attention to your advisers. You don’t want the whole process to go sideways because of your ignorance. Court cases in Nigeria is a delicate process and you should try to pay attention to every detail you come across.
This is a good example of a civil case, Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants CV-93-02419, 1995 (N.M. Dist, Aug. 18, 1994)
This is one of the shortest cases I could come up with. The trial took place from the 8th –17th of August 1994, New Mexico District Court, Judge Robert H. Scott.
This case began with 79-year-old Stella Liebeck, who was in her grandson’s car, purchased a cup of coffee at McDonald’s drive-through. While the car was in the parking lot (not moving), MrsLiebeck removed the cup lid from the cup to add more creamer into her coffee.
While doing so, she dropped the cup and spilling the hot coffee on her laps. Liebeck suffered third-degree, deep tissue burns on her legs that required multiple surgeries and also skin grafts.
Liebeck sued McDonald’s for her injuries under torts of strict liability and negligence. The media saw Liebeck’s civil lawsuit as frivolous because she was suing over a cup of coffee being too hot.
However, the damages to her body, her pain and suffering, money spent, hospitalized and loss of enjoyment in life due to pain were real and she did prevail in court.
The jury found that the defendant’s product (MacDonald’s) was defective (for a little too hot to drink) and this constituted a breach of implied warranty law (the assumption that the coffee was safe to drink). The jury also discovered that Liebeck was twenty percent at fault for her injuries.
From the above case study, it can be concluded that what happened to her might have been intentional or even though it was an accident, she is suing another person for injuries she inflicted on herself. She spilled hot coffee on herself, it wasn’t the fault of McDonald neither was it the fault sales representative/attendance.
she injured herself and took a company (MacDonald) to court for her injuries but if you can look at it again she won the case.
They awarded Liebeck $200,000 in compensatory damages, which was then reduced by 20% to $160,000. Also, they awarded her $2.7 million in punitive damages.
You might look at this as the dumbest trail ever. But it’s not. She won the case not just using her voice but with a little touch of science, Liebeck argued that coffee should never be served hotter than 140 °F (60 °C).
Because it was 190 °F and caused a third-degree burn. From my case study, you’ll see that winning a court case is easier than you think. So, How would I win a court case? Liebeck was able to prove the difference between hot and scorching hot coffee. Don’t live your cases all in the hands of lawyers, they are all good lairs and the judge knows this. Play an active role in your defense.