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What if you miss something important in your case preparation?

What if you miss something important in your case preparation?

Whether acting for or against an individual or an organisation, there are no second chances when presenting a case to a judge. Litigators need to be sure that they have prepared an effective and comprehensive case and that they have conducted their research with due diligence to ensure that they are representing their client in the best possible manner.

“A major part of any litigation process is doing research. This is not limited to searching for relevant legal cases and precedents, pouring through legal texts and archives,” says Greg Brown, director Data Services at LexisNexis South Africa, providers of online search tool Lexis WinDeed.

“Litigators also need to be adept at checking information such as company and asset ownership.”

The discovery stage of preparation sees litigators searching for all and any information that will help them make their case against the opposition or come to a favourable settlement. Having access to information such as company and asset ownership will assist the professional in a number of areas. Deciding on the best course of action – whether that is pursuing a settlement or taking the case to court is made easier with information such as the value of any properties and assets owned, whether or not the respondent owns a company or is a director of several companies.

“Many civil cases will result in a settlement and litigators need to have all of the facts to make – or accept – a settlement offer,” Brown adds.

With the legal profession under pressure to increase billable hours, reduce time spent on tasks such as research and still deliver a cost-effective service, it is important to have access to effective tools that makes optimal use of time and resources.

“Online research tools need to be trustworthy above all else. But they also need to be easy to use and offer time saving benefit,” says Brown.

“Having 24-hour access to a database when conducting research is also valuable for litigators. It means they can conduct their research day or night, from their office or even the courthouse steps if necessary.”

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