05/07/16 The Meaning of ‘TO LITIGATE’ in Legal English

e-legal lesson

To litigate has several meanings. Let’s analyze them:

  1. To be a party to, or carry on, a lawsuit.
  2. To make the subject of a lawsuit, to contest at law.
  3. To dispute, contest (e.g. a point)

Thus in sense (1), one litigates cases and causes, but in sense (2) one may litigate property or consequences, etc. For example, “Qualified immunity is in part an entitlement not to be forced to litigate the consequences of official conduct.”
Here, for example, it seems to be used for trial: “As the rules became more numerous and more nicely distinguished, they became also less easily understood and applied by the great mass of people, until finally no one who had not given the subject particular attention could safely assume to conduct a litigation

[read trial].”