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Civil Litigation

Wolfenson Lawyers has a litigation team to resolve the civil and commercial disputes of our clients.

With professional experience and postgraduate studies at the most prestigious universities in Chile, Wolfenson's lawyers are prepared to represent national and international clients before ordinary and special courts in our country and abroad.

We solve controversies in the field of contractual liability as non-contractual, in the areas of contract law, leasing, inheritance law, partition and term of hereditary community, effective possession, precarious, among many others.

The participation of lawyers specialized in law and civil litigation is essential to have adequate legal representation that allows us to maximize the objectives pursued and effectively preserve the rights of our clients.


Below is a legal guide to provide you with general guidance on legal representation and civil court litigation in Chile:

What is a Civil Lawsuit?

A  civil lawsuit corresponds  to a judicial proceeding in Chile, of a civil or patrimonial nature, that is, those that are related to petitions before the authority based on rights and/or unlawful  acts that arise from interactions between people and companies associated with mainly patrimonial and commercial areas. Indeed, daily life and business can give rise to disputes between the parties involved or third parties, and therefore make it necessary to appeal to a Court to make it effective. It is in this context that it is relevant to have the representation of a trial lawyer expert in civil law who prepares and files an appropriate civil lawsuit before the Courts of Justice of Chile, whether they are ordinary or special courts. It is in this type of case that the firm Wolfenson Abogados has extensive experience and specialization.


What is a misdemeanor or tort?

A civil misdemeanor or tort corresponds to an infringement of a legal or regulatory rule of a civil nature. The person who commits a civil offense is likely to receive a civil lawsuit; If the affected person decides to act legally, he or she can file or file a lawsuit in the appropriate civil court, which will generally be the one closest to the defendant's domicile.


What is a lawsuit, in general? How to Start a Civil Lawsuit?

A lawsuit is a legal and juridical act  that can be used by anyone who holds a claim or right that can be judicially enforced, for which they will need legal representation from a trial lawyer in Santiago, or the region of Chile as appropriate. To initiate a civil lawsuit,  it is necessary  to file a statement of claim written by  a lawyer before the Courts, which will start a legal case, that is, a conflict for which one person will sue another, for example, for damages or prejudices caused, or for the reason that corresponds in law. 


How to file and file a civil lawsuit?

In order  to file or file a civil lawsuit, it  is imperative to have legal representation from a qualified attorney, who determines the viability of the case, and the civil cause for which the litigation will be initiated. Although there are a few legal actions that can be filed without the need  for a lawyer, the vast majority of these will require a lawyer, as well as for the follow-up of the case and the presentation of the relevant remedies or appeals.


What Are the Requirements for Filing a Civil Lawsuit?

Article 254 of the Code of Civil Procedure in Chile (CPC) states that a civil lawsuit must contain:

1.    Designation of the court before which the civil case is filed

2.    The individualization of the plaintiff  and the legal representative: full name, RUT, address, profession or trade, nationality and marital status.

3.    The individualization of the defendant: full name, RUT, nationality, marital status, domicile and profession or trade.

4.    A statement of the facts and legal grounds on which the  claim is based, i.e., the civil case, which may include evidence of what happened such as videos, photographs and witnesses, or the evidence may be reserved for a later stage of the trial.

5.    Plaintiff's requests: it is necessary to state precisely the compensation requested, which must be substantiated as detailed in the preceding sections. The judge may only accept the points expressed in the petitions and may not change them or add different ones to what was requested.


What is a Trial Lawyer?

A trial lawyer is a legal professional  who dedicates his or her professional practice to representing the rights of his or her clients before the courts. The job of a trial lawyer is not only to defend his client at the time of trial, but also to analyze each case in depth in order to establish  the best legal strategy for the success of the case, and if appropriate also to initiate legal actions on behalf of his clients.

 Trial lawyers in Chile must fully understand  the law and legal practice, in order to meet the requirements of each client, and thus mount an effective legal defense. In this way, the legal service of excellence becomes possible, an issue that inspires us daily as a law firm Wolfenson Abogados.

Among the skills  of trial lawyers,  they must be able to communicate clearly and persuasively both with clients, counterparts, but also and especially before  the Courts and for the time being the Judge, and in this way maximize the results of a litigation. In addition, a trial lawyer is required to have a special organization  and order in order to comply with legal deadlines, which are fatal and cannot be extended. It is a vital feature for developing the planning of the various phases of the process.

In the same way, they are characterized by being meticulous professionals with great commitment. A trial lawyer can spend many hours studying and reviewing laws, rules, and regulations, researching, and applying the legal phenomenon to the client's specific case. A trial lawyer's job is to represent the interests of their clients in a court proceeding. They are responsible for gathering evidence, preparing the case, and presenting legal arguments to the court. Through persuasive and assertive verbal and paraverbal language.

They are lawyers who stand out for their eloquence in presenting their arguments and for asking the right questions during the questioning of witnesses. In this context, they are also professionals with great emotional control. This is an essential feature to be able to be effective under pressure. Finally, it should be noted that a trial lawyer must not only act at the time of trial, but also draft documents and participate in judicial and out-of-court mediation processes. To do this, you must demonstrate persuasive skills and have a high level of writing, as well as legal knowledge. Our lawyers in Las Condes, expert litigators before the Courts, enjoy the prestige and legal recognition that only judicial talent and legal discipline can provide. 


What Are the Requirements to Be a Successful Trial Lawyer?

The trial lawyer in Chile must be, above all, a student of  the law and the legal phenomenon both in its  materiality and in its procedures. You must be aware of the regulations and doctrine applicable to the case in order to be able to argue your request logically. It is essential to be organized. To prepare for each intervention, as a trial lawyer you must know well in advance the date of the trial and organize the time for its proper preparation. Improvisations are not the most advisable thing to do to tend to a successful result. Perseverance and discipline. Discipline  is key in the preparation of a trial, especially when, as you will have seen, a detailed study and preparation of the theory of the case is essential. A trial lawyer always plans everything in detail. Any case that can go to trial requires a clear strategy to follow. Everything must be measured and planned. While there may be surprises, they must be nothing more than the right and necessary ones.

The lawyer's ability to concentrate on the stand is important. The  trial lawyer must have a creative, resourceful mind and be able to react quickly during the trial to requests from the Court or the opposing party. 

An experienced trial lawyer in Santiago, Chile, who presents evidence or makes any argument before a court must have full control of each situation. A lawyer's credibility is nourished by the confidence he transmits in what he says, does not say, and in what he does and does not do. The lawyers in Las Condes and Santiago Oriente at  Wolfenson Law Firm know the skills of a litigator specializing in civil law and judicial representation.


What types of civil lawsuits are there in Chile?

There are different types or classes of civil lawsuits. As many classes or types as there are civil rights that you want to claim in court and that the substantive civil law or procedural law in Chile allows.

Most civil actions are covered by the Chilean Civil Code.

The most recurrent civil lawsuits in our country are the following:

1.    Claim for contractual damages;

2.    Claim for non-contractual damages;

3.    Precarious demand;

4.    Lease demand;

5.    Breach of contract claim;

6.    Request for interdiction;

7.    Statute of limitations;

8.    Demand for the collection of pesos;

9.    Enforcement Action;

10.    Application in voluntary procedure;

11.    Claim for dispossession;

12.    Demand for simulation;

13.    Lawsuit in tax court;

14.    Application for revocation;

15.    Application for annulment;

16.    Petition for nullity of will;

17.    Petition for inheritance;

18.    Lawsuit for construction defects.

19.    Lawsuit for redhibitory defects.

20.    Demand for vindication

21.    Among others.


What is a civil claim for damages in Chile?

The  civil claim for damages should be, along with the civil claim for debts, one of the most common lawsuits in this area of practice. 

The main purpose of the civil action for damages is to compensate a person, either because an obligation established in a contract has been breached, or in the absence of a contract, a person has caused damage to another, because of his fault or willful misconduct.

You are entitled to damages for damage caused by breach of contract or when damage has been caused or caused by an event that does not originate in a contract. The former is called contractual civil liability, and the latter  is called tort liability.


What Should Be Compensated in a Civil Lawsuit?

Compensation must be paid for both pecuniary damages (consequential damage and loss of earnings) and moral damages. First, the actual loss caused by the breach or the damage to the assets of the claimant. This is called consequential damage. Second, loss of profits, which consists of compensation for the damages they lost due to the breach of the contractual obligation or the event that caused the damage. Finally, moral damages, which consist of compensation for the pain, grief or inconvenience that the person who suffered the breach or the event that caused the damage must have suffered. Our lawyers in Las Condes, Providencia, La Dehesa, Lo Barnechea and Chicureo have extensive experience in  quantifying damages in each case.


Where Are Civil Lawsuits Filed?

Civil actions are filed or brought in the courts of first instance of common jurisdiction or in the courts of first instance in civil matters, as appropriate. As a general rule, the court with jurisdiction to hear a civil action is the court of the defendant's domicile. There are several exceptions to this general rule, the most relevant being: (a) The parties have established a different court in the contract; b) That what is claimed is rights over a property, in which case the civil judge of the commune where it is located will be competent, without prejudice to the extension of jurisdiction. In Santiago and in the communes where the Court of Appeals is located, the lawsuit is filed with the respective Court of Appeals, which will proceed to distribute it. However, nowadays, the filing of the lawsuit is done by the lawyers through their virtual login to the Virtual Judicial Office of the Judiciary. It is essential that our law firm in Las Condes evaluates each case to decide where to file the civil lawsuit.


What are the stages of a civil lawsuit in Chile?

The stages that a civil lawsuit must follow in Chile will depend on the judicial procedure by which it is channeled through a court and ruling. The procedure in Chile is characterized by being written and subject to double review. Civil lawsuits are usually handled according to the rules of three most common types of procedure:

1.- Ordinary Trial: Which in turn is subdivided into ordinary trial of greater amount, ordinary trial of small amount and ordinary trial of minimum amount.

2.- Summary Trial: Which deals with the matters that the law determines must be ventilated in this type of proceeding and as its name says, it is usually a shorter trial, and;

3.- Enforcement Judgment: which aims to enforce the assets of a debtor whose debt is recorded in an enforceable title.

Notwithstanding the fact that each of these procedures has its own stages or steps to channel the demand, the common stages of all of them are:

(a) Discussion stage: At this stage of the civil proceedings in question, the civil claim shall be brought to the attention of the defendant by means of service thereof and the defendant shall be given a period of time to present his defences or defences.

(b) Evidentiary stage: At this stage, the evidence supporting each party's theory of the case will be presented to the Court.

c) Sentencing stage: The case files will be brought and the sentence will be summoned to be heard, at this stage the outcome of the trial will be defined, at least in the first instance.

Each client of Wolfenson Abogados has a lawyer specialized in Santiago and all of Chile who provides permanent monitoring of every movement of the legal case.


How to serve a civil lawsuit?

The correct way to serve a lawsuit is through the intervention of a receiver. The claim, which as a general rule is  the first step in the trial, must be served personally - i.e. it must be delivered into the hands of the defendant - or; By ID at the address – in case you have not found it at that time at the home on different days – which will be left with the concierge if there is one or will be posted on the door of the home. (This is the famous notification by Article 44 of the Code of Civil Procedure). Always individualizing the recipient who performs the diligence. If you are not validly notified, you must allege that the notification is null and void due to lack of summons. Management that you will be able to carry out through our law firm and lawyers in Santiago, Las Condes.


What Should You Do When Served with a Civil Lawsuit?

Once notified, the first thing you should do is quickly go to a lawyer to represent you in court. This should be done quickly, since the time limit for answering varies depending on the type of procedure and subject matter. Likewise, the defendant must answer the complaint, a written statement by means of which he sets out  the defenses and exceptions  he has against the lawsuit or he can remain silent (tacitly denying the facts) or accede to the lawsuit. 


What is the evidentiary stage of the civil lawsuit?

Once the discussion stage is over,  the evidentiary stage will  begin, which begins with a legal and obligatory call to the parties to conciliate with respect to the trial. If no agreement is reached, a probationary period will begin, which is extended according to the rules established by law regarding each type of civil procedure. The means of proof are varied: documents, witnesses, confessions, official documents, exhibition of documents, expert opinions, etc., and at the end of this, the court will summon the parties to hear their judgment, and will issue a judgment that will be heard by the lawyers. 


What is the sentencing stage of the civil lawsuit?

Finally, once each party has received the arguments and the evidence supporting its claims, the court will analyse them and deliver its judgement or sentence. This period of time is, in most cases, an extended period that can last for a few months until the court finally pronounces itself. Once the judgment or sentence has been obtained, it must be personally notified to the parties and it can give rise to an appeal or cassation in  the Courts of Justice or initiate the compliance stage, that is, enforce the judgment. In the compliance stage, it is essential to have specialist lawyers for successful legal advice.


How Long Does a Civil Lawsuit Take in Chile?

The answer is depends on the complexity of each case and the defendant's opposition, however as a general rule it varies between one to two years in the first instance. If we already have appeals or other types of resources, it can be extended from two to five years. For this reason, it is essential to have a diligent and disciplined trial attorney to minimize the unnecessary length of the process and maximize the success of the process. 


How do I know if there is a lawsuit against me?

To do this, it is advisable to go to a litigation lawyer in order to verify in  the digital systems of the judiciary the  existence or not of legal cases against the person to be consulted.

In the event that legal representation of individuals and/or companies is required, the law firm Wolfenson Abogados provides legal advice to its clients in Santiago and throughout Chile, in the representation of their rights before the Courts of Justice, both in the first instance and before the Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court.


Links of interest on the Judicial Representation of lawyers, complex litigation, and trials in Chile:

1.- Civil Code

2.- Code of Civil Procedure

3.- Organic Code of Courts

Wolfenson Lawyers. Chile Law Firm.

If you need more information and legal advice regarding representation and civil litigation, we invite you to contact our lawyers in Santiago. We are located at Av El Golf 40, Floor 12, in the commune of Las Condes, Santiago de Chile.

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