Is litigation something new?

No. Disputes are an integral part of human history throughout the ages. In medieval times disputes were sometimes resolved by such methods as a physical "trial by battle" in which the parties (or their designees) would actually engage in physical combat; the winner of the battle would have his or her way.

Now that we are more civilized, parties having a dispute they can not resolve among themselves, often engage attorneys to do legal combat in court, which generally avoids bloodshed. Instead of engaging in physical combat, the lawyers prepare the facts supporting their client’s demands, send papers to the other side and present the facts at a "trial" to the decision maker, such as a judge, jury or arbitrator, for decision.

We use the term litigation to refer to the entire range of steps that are involved before, during and after an actual "trial". Criminal matters are also considered "litigation", and many attorneys who practice litigation handle both civil and criminal cases, as well as arbitration, mediation and handle administrative trials and hearings. However this section of Free Advice has as its focus disputes between private parties, between businesses between themselves, and between individuals and businesses and the government, known as civil matters