How long does it typically take from commencing proceedings to get to trial?

Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Switzerland Small Flag Switzerland

In contrast to common law legal systems, no distinction is made in Switzerland between pre-trial discovery, exchange of submissions and the actual trial. There is also no jury procedure. The decision is made in all points by the court. According to the Swiss system, the trial begins with the filing of the statement of claim. In commercial matters, the procedure is usually written. Each party is entitled to two complete submissions. Depending on the outcome of this exchange of submissions, a proceeding on taking of the evidence takes place, the outcome of which the parties may also comment on. In the context of such a procedure, document production requests of the parties, which were submitted by the parties within the framework of their pleadings are also be dealt with by the court.

Chile Small Flag Chile

Under Chilean procedural civil system proceedings commence by filing a claim and its service to the defendant by court´s ancillary clerks, called “Receptores”. As soon as a claim is served the trial starts with defendant´s fillings or hearings depending on the sort of proceeding. Just by promoting preliminary objections or “incidents” the commencement of the proceeding may be delay a few.

Sweden Small Flag Sweden

The timeline from commencing of proceedings to award varies considerably between the different courts. The district courts in Sweden’s major cities, and in particular the Stockholm District Court, have a greater number of commercial disputes than other district courts. While this means that those courts are more experienced in dealing with such cases, the court proceedings are often lengthier. The length of the proceedings is also to some extent dependent on whether the award is to be rendered by one or three judges, which depends on the nature and size of the case. Roughly estimated, it takes approximately one to two years from the commencing of proceedings to the award if the award is to be rendered by three judges and less if rendered by a sole judge. Large cases may, however, well exceed two years in the first instance.

Portugal Small Flag Portugal

Presently, barring any extraordinary delays/incidents, proceedings may get to trial within a period of 1 to 1.5 years.

UAE Small Flag UAE

The procedures which precede going to trial are not extensive and consist of mainly filing the claim and notifying the opponent/s of the claim.

Pursuant to Article 42 of the Civil Procedures Law, the claim is filed at the request of the plaintiff after the submission of the statement of claim with the Court Registrar or electronically.

There are certain requirements which should be met when filing a claim such as the contents of the statement of claim, and once these requirements are met the court then notifies the defendant\s of the claim and the date of the first hearing which is usually within 10 days from the date of notification.

In conclusion, the time frame from filing a claim until the first hearing is not lengthy unless there are certain complications the most common of which is not being able to locate and notify a party.

Saudi Arabia Small Flag Saudi Arabia

Proceedings before all Saudi Arabian courts and judicial tribunals, including the Commercial Court, are broadly similar to proceedings in Civil Law jurisdictions. Litigation takes place in a series of short hearings, which last between 15 minutes to 1 ½ hours. There are no pre-trial procedures as such, and there is no discovery of documents. Once the action is formally instituted, the parties are summoned to a hearing, usually within a few weeks of the filing of the complaint.

Norway Small Flag Norway

According to the Dispute Act, the main hearing may not be held more than six months after the date of submission of the writ of summons unless special circumstances make it necessary. Most district courts are able to fulfill this requirement, but not always. However, the main hearing is very rarely held more than one year after the date of submission of the writ of summons.

United States Small Flag United States

In federal court, the median time from filing a lawsuit to trial was 27 months in 2017. In state court, the time to trial may be longer or shorter, depending on the jurisdiction. Based on model time standards published by the National Association for Court Management in 2011, the recommended upper limit for time from the date of filing to the date of disposition of a general civil case is 18 months.

Austria Small Flag Austria

In Austria, a trial starts with a preparatory hearing (“vorbereitende Tagsatzung”), in which the judge usually maps out a plan for the timing and content of the proceeding and elaborates possibilities for a settlement with the parties. The law sets no fixed timeline for proceedings and it is for the court to schedule oral hearings. Usually, it takes two to six months from the initiation of a process (i.e. the filing of a claim with the competent court) before a preparatory hearing is held, depending on available capacities.

Japan Small Flag Japan

According to the statistics publicised by the Supreme Court, as of 2014, it takes an average of 9.2 months for civil legal proceedings of first instance to get to trial (excluding suits against moneylenders for the return of overpayments, which constitute around 40% of the total claims in Japan and are often concluded within a shorter period of time). However, more significant or complex cases often take longer to reach the trial stage.

One reason for this short period is that civil proceedings in Japan do not have a US-style jury trial or discovery (see #14 below). In addition, as part of the procedure for intensive hearings, in practice, witness examinations are conducted in one or just a few hearing, often during the final phase of the legal proceedings. In addition, witness examination is not always required before a court can make its decision.

Updated: June 13, 2018