What to Do if You are Sued in Cameroon (Lawsuit Steps/Litigation Process). HIRE A LAWYER IN CAMEROON.
This comprehensive guide provides guidance or steps to prepare for a lawsuit or litigation in Cameroon.
What is a Lawsuit? (Litigation)
A lawsuit is a civil case initiated against an individual over a dispute. A lawsuit can be started for an unpaid debt, a breach of contract, or any other type of disagreement.
A lawsuit begins once an individual known as the claimant or plaintiff files the claim papers like the writ of summons/originating summons, statement of claim, etc., with the court, and these documents (known as pleadings) are served on you. If you are sued, you are referred to as the defendant.
Suggested: How to Sue a Company or Someone in Cameroon?
What to Do if You are Sued in Cameroon (Lawsuit Steps/Litigation Process)
STEP 1: FIND OUT WHY YOU ARE BEING SUED (LITIGATED)
When you are sued, the first thing to find out is who is suing you and why you are being sued. The best thing to do here is to immediately contact a lawyer.
Do not wait. When a lawsuit is filed against you, there is usually a period within which you must file a legal response to the case; this is most times about 40 days. If you do not respond within the stated period, the plaintiff/claimant may apply to the court for a default judgment against you.
A default judgment is a judgment entered by the court in the absence of a defence by the defendant. Once such a judgment is entered, it is usually impossible or, at best, challenging to get the decision modified or reversed.
STEP 2: HIRE A LAWYER IN CAMEROON
The lawyer who reviews the lawsuit against you will be the most suitable person to give you the best advice on proceeding.
The lawyer will advise you on how to respond to the claims, what your defences may be, and in general, an overall strategy for responding to the lawsuit.
Suppose you are ok with the strategy as proposed by the lawyer for defending the lawsuit. In that case, you may hire a lawyer to take on the responsibility of preparing your defence and filing all necessary documents in court.
STEP 3: PRESERVE ALL IMPORTANT DOCUMENTATION
Once you have been served by the officer of the court – the Court Bailiff, in a lawsuit, then you should take care not to destroy any information that could be remotely connected to the matter in dispute. The report includes electronic data such as emails, accounting records, files, memos, notes, etc.
If you try to destroy this information, it could seriously jeopardize your credibility, and in fact, could lead to criminal liability.
Collect and review the information to be sure you recall the facts and the surrounding events leading to the plaintiff/claimant filing the lawsuit against you. Although you are sued, there is always the temptation to talk about the case or any information about the issue with people around you to get their opinion; you should not give in to that temptation.
The only person you should be speaking about in your court case is your lawyer, mainly because he is the only one who is precluded from revealing any conversations you have with them concerning the lawsuit, as those conversations are ‘privileged’ and therefore protected.
STEP 4: EXPLORE OUT OF COURT SETTLEMENT
You should note that not every instance of a lawsuit leads to a court trial; in many cases, the parties might be able to work out a settlement arrangement, and in which case the claimant/plaintiff will agree to withdraw its case against you, the defendant.
The lawyer is also essential in this process, as it’s their job to facilitate the negotiation/settlement process to potentially prevent the case from going to trial if this is the best option.
Have you or anyone you know been sued? You should definitely contact Cameroon's top lawyers or law firms as soon as possible.
Disclaimer: This is not legal advice. You must consult a lawyer's expertise to get a better insight into the subject.