It is important to remember that settlement is possible at any time during the action. The parties can settle and withdraw their action on terms they both agree on. The court must be informed of this.
Each party will present their case to the judge. The judge will consider the evidence which is tested by cross-examination of the witnesses of fact and the experts. It is vital that all material facts are raised at trial because the findings of fact that are made at trial are final, except for in limited circumstances.
Judgement is often given 2-3 months after trial. Once judgement is given a party may apply for a stay of execution of the judgment to prevent enforcement of any award of damages. The judge can agree or refuse a stay of execution. If a request to appeal the judgment is allowed there is no automatic stay of execution. The party concerned may need to apply to the Court of Appeal for an urgent stay.
The appeal system applies to all appeals. An appeal must be made at the earliest opportunity and within 21 days from the date of the decision at the lower court. Generally, permission of the court is required for appeals to proceed. Permission will only be granted if the appeal appears to have a real prospect of success or where there is some other compelling reason to allow the appeal.
Once permission is granted the appeal court will allow an appeal if the decision of the lower court was wrong or unjust due to an error of law in the lower court. Appeals are limited to a review of the decision of the lower court. They do not include a rehearing or review of the evidence except for limited exceptions.
A second appeal is only allowed in special situations. The Court of Appeal must consider that the appeal has a real prospect of success and it would raise an important point of practice or principle, or there is some other compelling reason to hear it. This is a very high test. After the Court of Appeal, appeals go to the Supreme Court, but only with the permission of the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court.
The following is some methods of enforcement relevant for enforcing judgment in England and Wales:
- Taking control of goods by Writ or Warrant of Control.
- A Charging Order on land or securities.
- A Charging Order over the judgement debtors’ interest in partnership property followed by an Order for Sale.
- Third Party Debt Orders such as funds held in banks.
- Appointment of a Receiver by way of equitable execution.
- Attachment of earnings where a proportion of earnings are deducted by the employer.
- Enforcement by Bankruptcy or Liquidation proceedings.