For better understanding of the present topic it is advisable here to discuss the different stages of a civil suit in a short manner. One of the major characteristics of adversarial legal system is that civil litigation process is a contest between two parties. Bangladesh belongs to adversarial legal system and under this system in civil litigation the two parties are the plaintiff on one hand and the defendant on the other hand. Under this process the court takes a non partisan role and the court does not play any role in the inquiry into the events rather arrange a hearing between the parties to decide within the complex set of rule whether the plaintiff is entitled to the right claimed which the defendant denies. In civil proceeding the standard of proof is the balance of probabilities namely more probably true than false. Thus if the plaintiff can establish a prima facie case before the court in favor of his claim and other parties does not adduce any evidence in his defense the court should deliver judgment in favor of plaintiff. Balance of evidence in favor of plaintiff on civil proceeding is also commonly known as the prima facie case and if the plaintiff fails to raise the prima facie case the court should deliver judgment in favor of defendant on the basis of ‘no case to answer’. The whole civil judicial proceeding in courts is regulated by the different provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure-1908 and the Civil Rules and Order (C. R. O).
The stages of civil proceeding may be broadly categorized into the following stages:
(1) Pre-trail stage
(2) Trail Stage
(3) Post trial stage
court. If a proceeding does not commence on the presentation of plaint it is not a suit even if a judgment may be passed in such proceeding. Plaint is considered to be document by presentation of which in a civil court, a party seeks relief from such court.2
Summon: Once the suit is filed successfully a summon is to be issued upon the defendant to appear on a date specified in the summon to appear and answer the claim.
Filing Written Statement:
If the summon is duly served upon the defendant and a written statement containing the answer of the claim of plaintiff and his own claim is to be submitted to the court on the date fixed on the summon. Filing of written statement is obligatory and non-filing of written statement will be considered as of the facts by the defendants3
Alternative Dispute Resolution:
By incorporating section 89A in the Code Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) was formally introduced in our legal system. Incorporation of ADR in the civil proceeding is groundbreaking step taken by the Government of Bangladesh.4 At this stage the court takes an attempt to Mediate the dispute between the parties avoiding the formal procedure of Litigation.
If the ADR process fails the court shall proceed from the stage at which the suit stood before the decision of ADR. At this stage court will examine the pleadings of the parties and try to determine the core of dispute.
At this stage the court will determine the issue of the suit. Issue arises When material proposition of fact and law is affirmed by one party and Denied by the other party.
Step under Section 30:
After framing issue the court may give order on application of the parties With regard to the delivery and answering of interrogatories, the admission of document and facts, and the discovery, inspection, production, impounding and return of documents or other material objects producible as evidence.
Settling Date (SD):
Now the court settles a date for peremptory hearing that is date for trial.
Opening the case:
It is the right of the plaintiff to open the case and at this stage the plaintiff states the nature of the case, issue in the case, evidence of the witnesses.
Peremptory Hearing (P H):
At this stage the plaintiff and defendant examine their own witness and Cross-examine the witnesses of the other and may re-examine the witness.
After hearing the evidence of the witness of both parties the respective pleaders will be called upon to argue their case.
Pronouncement of judgment:
Once the hearing is complete the court will pronounce judgment at once or reserve the judgment for future date. Every judgment contains
(i) a concise statement of the case
(ii) points for determination
(iii) decision thereon
(iv) reasons for decision.
By the words of decree the court specifically determines and pronounces the rights of the parties in the present dispute.
Execution of decree:
This is the last stage of a civil proceeding and by application of the decree holder the court takes necessary step to execute the decree.
The question of arrest and detention in the civil proceeding may come either at the trial stage or at the post trial stage. Apart from the two parties namely plaintiff and defendant in civil suit the existence of witness is indispensable for delivery of justice. So the plaintiff, defendant and witness are the role characters in a civil suit.