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Definition of Litigant

The litigant can be either the plaintiff or the defendant in a legal dispute who brings an action against another person. The word litigant is derived from a Latin word, litigare, which means "to dispute." It is possible to have a number of claimants and defendants involved in a lawsuit, and litigants can be either individuals or organizations.

In a lawsuit it is the plaintiff who takes legal action against the defendant to remedy some type of injustice or to receive compensation for an injury. The defendant is required to respond to the charges from the plaintiff and file a counterclaim.

Given the complexity, cost and time-consuming nature of our current judicial process many litigants are willing to use alternative dispute resolution techniques such as mediation to find a remedy to their dispute. Litigants who go to trial or mediate can either hire an attorney or represent themselves. Whether a litigant chooses to hire a lawyer or provide their own representation generally depends on the complexity of the legal case.

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