How do you file a lawsuit in Japan?

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A lawsuit in Japan starts with the filing of a complaint by the injured party. The complaint should be filed with a court that has jurisdiction over the case and should state certain critical components of the case, such as what the complaining party is asking for and why, as well as listing any evidence that supports the claim. The filing fee for the court should also be submitted along with the complaint. The preparation of a complaint is the important first step in any successful lawsuit and a poorly drafted complaint can limit the award to an injured party or even result in the dismissal of the entire lawsuit. Therefore, drafting a complaint in any lawsuit should be entrusted to an experienced lawyer.

Before a lawsuit can commence, a copy of the complaint should be delivered to the defendant personally so he or she has notice of the lawsuit. The court has the responsibility to deliver this complaint, although the defendant’s address should be provided by the attorneys for the complaining party. The delivery is usually accomplished by mailing a copy of the complaint to the defendant’s address or by posting a copy on a public noticeboard if no address is known. If it is not possible to deliver the complaint or provide notice to the defendant, the lawsuit may be dismissed. This system differs greatly from the American system where lawyers are responsible for delivering the complaint which has spawned an industry of process servers who professionally deliver notice to defendants.

If you have questions about pre-trial proceedings in Japan, please contact our office for a legal consultation.