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Also, at any time during this process from the filing of the complaint to the final judgment, the plaintiff may withdraw the complaint and end the whole matter, or the defendant may agree to a settlement. If the case settles, the parties might choose to enter into a stipulated judgment with the settlement agreement attached, or the plaintiff may simply file a voluntary dismissal, so that the settlement agreement is never entered into the court record.
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However, it is often more convenient to refer to cases – particularly landmark and other notable cases – by a title of the form Claimant v Defendant (e.g. Arkell v Pressdram). Where a legal proceeding does not have formally designated adverse parties, a form such as In re, Re or In the matter of is used (e.g. In re Gault). The "v" separating the parties is an abbreviation of the Latin versus, but, when spoken in Commonwealth countries, it is normally rendered as "and" or "against" (as in, for example, Charles Dickens' Jarndyce and Jarndyce). Where it is considered necessary to protect the anonymity of a natural person, some cases may have one or both parties replaced by a standard pseudonym (Jane Roe in Roe v. Wade) or by an initial (D v D). In titles such as R v Adams, however, the initial "R" is usually an abbreviation for the Latin Rex or Regina, i.e. for the Crown. (For an explanation of other terms that may appear in case titles, see the Glossary of legal terms.)
If this is the case in the crime for which you are charged, an attorney will try to get you enrolled into one of these programs. These programs are good options in many cases because they are extremely low risk – usually once you are enrolled it is 100% up to you to be successful, but it also means that the only thing that can cause failure is you. Deferral programs usually involve some sort of community service, treatment, and or education classes as well as a period of time in which you cannot get in further trouble. In most cases, once these requirements are met, the charges against you will be dropped and sometimes, you can even file for an expungement for the history of the case ever happening to be removed from your criminal background.
A civil case, more commonly known as a lawsuit or controversy, begins when a plaintiff files a document called a complaint with a court, informing the court of the wrong that the plaintiff has allegedly suffered because of the defendant, and requesting a remedy. The remedy sought may be money, an injunction, which requires the defendant to perform or refrain from performing some action, or a declaratory judgment, which determines that the plaintiff has certain legal rights. The remedy will be prescribed by the court if the plaintiff wins the case. A civil case can also be arbitrated through arbitration, which may result in a faster settlement, with lower costs, than could be obtained by going through a trial.
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If you find yourself up against a lawyer who won't stop rattling off legal citations or won't let you get a word in edgewise, you'll have to stand up for yourself. Tell the judge that you are representing yourself without a lawyer because you can't afford or justify the expense, and that you'll rely on the judge to apply the correct law and reach the right conclusions. Many judges will make an effort to keep the proceedings comprehensible to a self-represented party -- and will take steps to rein in an opposing lawyer who tries to take unfair advantage.
Some jurisdictions, notably the United States, but prevalent in many other countries, prevent parties from relitigating the facts on appeal, due to a history of unscrupulous lawyers deliberately reserving such issues in order to ambush each other in the appellate courts (the "invited error" problem). The idea is that it is more efficient to force all parties to fully litigate all relevant issues of fact before the trial court. Thus, a party who does not raise an issue of fact at the trial court level generally cannot raise it on appeal.
The official ruling of a lawsuit can be somewhat misleading because post-ruling outcomes are often not listed on the internet. For example, in the case of William J. Ralph Jr. v. Lind-Waldock & Company (September 1999), one would assume that Mr. Ralph lost the case when in fact, upon review of the evidence, it as found that Mr. Ralph was correct in his assertion that improper activity took place on the part of Lind-Waldock, and Mr. Ralph settled with Lind-Waldock.