My name is Christopher Pirie, and I am a civil litigation trial attorney in Costa Rica. Since the beginning of my career in the year 2000, I have been taking care of lawsuits. I began to specialize my legal services, as a civil trial lawyer. Back then, civil processes were “desperately litigated in written form,” and the physical presence of the judge was the exception. With time, I became a seasoned civil trial lawyer. The Civil Process Code regulates civil litigation in Costa Rica. Oral hearings are now the rule, even though the written form is still significant. On this page, I will focus on the main civil litigation processes in Costa Rica that you should be aware of:
The ordinary civil litigation process is a residual one. If your claim does not have a specific process, it must be filed as an “ordinary” lawsuit. An ordinary civil process represents quintessential civil litigation in Costa Rica. Disputed divorces and family trials are resolved through this type of process. The judgment it produces is final and affects “material res judicata.” This means the legal dispute can´t be filed again without violating double jeopardy rules or “non-bis in idem.” A legal claim can´t be argued more than once. These rules apply to both criminal law and civil law, but there are exceptions.
Your civil trial attorney in Costa Rica may recommend filing an ordinary civil process to protect you under the rules of material res judicata. For practical reasons, you should know a few examples of civil litigation claims, that are filed in an ordinary civil process:
The summary process is not a residual form of civil litigation in Costa Rica. Hence, this process is used for specific claims. In contrast with the ordinary civil process, the summary process has reduced procedure stages and time limits. It has a single oral hearing and a reduced number of legal recourses (such as appeals). This type of civil litigation produces “formal” res judicata. Several examples of claims that must be filed in a Summary Civil Process by your civil litigation lawyer in Costa Rica are:
Your trial lawyer in Costa Rica, might recommend a monitory law suit. These processes are called “monitory” because the standard structure is inverted. In this type of civil litigation in Costa Rica, the initial resolution, if not contested, becomes the final resolution automatically. Its “shoot first and ask questions later.” The initial resolution orders the debtor to pay within the given time frame.
The initial resolution is final if he doesn´t challenge or contest the lawsuit with founded opposition. When this happens, the creditor now has a resolution he can execute. Your civil litigation lawyer in Costa Rica will recommend filing this type of process for the following scenarios:
If you have signed a mortgage on a property or a floating lien on a car, then you are liable per the rules of mortgage and floating lien executions. In the execution process, the initial resolution sets a time, date, and place for the auction of the pledged asset. The debtor has limited defenses in these types of civil litigation processes, including lack of enforceability, the statute of limitations, and the payment defense. Even though defenses are limited, there are many things that a seasoned civil litigation lawyer can do.
If there is no opposition, or the defenses are ruled out, the auction takes place, and the asset gets transferred. The creditor will still be able to enforce any overdraft balance against the debtor after liquidation is filed.
These are just some of the different civil processes in Costa Rica that involve a civil litigation attorney. Many details and aspects of these civil actions have been left out, as this is just a simple overview. Corporate and commercial conflicts are also resolved through civil litigation.
It’s important to mention that it’s imperative that your civil litigation attorney in Costa Rica knows what he is doing and files things properly in case of litigation. Be it the lawsuit or counter lawsuit, and how to challenge or contest them in case you are sued. If you are suing, special care must be taken to enumerate and state the lawsuit’s facts correctly, in chronological order.
Everything must be proven with the corresponding evidence to support the facts. Elaborating your requests to the judge in the lawsuit must be done comprehensively for him to rule in the final resolution. There is an old saying that to get Justice, you must first be right, know how to ask for it, and hope it will be given to you.
You need a reasonable trial attorney in Costa Rica who knows how to ask for civil justice. I just wanted to let you know that things not appropriately requested are not given. The same applies to challenging and contesting any lawsuit in case you are the party being sued. Exceptions and defenses must be adequately invoked, and all the evidence must be submitted on time. Many lawsuits in Costa Rica are lost due to a lack of attention to detail. Sometimes people learn this the hard way. Avoid this and contact me, a litigation lawyer that will help you find the solutions: Dr. Christopher Pirie- attorney at law and notary public.