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A lawsuit (or suit in law) refers to any proceeding by a party or parties against another in a court of law. The conduct of a lawsuit is called litigation. The plaintiffs and defendants are called litigants and the attorneys representing them are called litigators.


  • LITIGANT, n. A person about to give up his skin for the hope of retaining his bones.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • LITIGATION, n. A machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • Val més mala avinença que bona sentencia. (Catalan)
  • Kratka sprava je bolši kakor dolga pravda. (Croatian)
  • Krátké porovnání lepŝí, než dlouhé sporování. (Czech)
  • A l'è mej un cativ accordi ch'una bona sentessa. (Piedmontese)
  • Khudoi mir luchshe dobroy ssory. (Russian)
  • Krátka správa lepšia ako dlhá pravda. (Slovak)
    • English equivalent: A bad compromise is better than a good lawsuit.
    • Proverb in various languages. Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 68. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • A piece of paper blown by the wind among lawyers must in the end be drawn out again by two oxen.
    • Reported as a Chinese proverb in ABA Journal, Vol. 47, No. 8 (August 1961), p. 788.
    • Variation: "A piece of paper blown by the wind into a law-court may in the end only be drawn out again by two oxen" reported in James W. H. McCord, The Litigation Paralegal: A Systems Approach (2007), p. 205.
  • Officium officialium, quorum te numero aggregasti, hodie est, jura confundere, suscitare lites, transactiones rescindere, innectere dilationes, suprimere veritatem, fovere mendacium, quaestum sequi, aeqitatem vendere, inhiare exactionibus, versutias concinnare.
    • The role of officials today is to upset the laws, to stir up lawsuits, to annul agreements, to devise delays, to suppress the truth, to encourage falsehood, to follow profit, to sell justice, to attend closely to exacting money, to practise cunning.
    • Peter of Blois letter 25, to the Judicial Vicar of the Bishop of Chartres, in J. A. Giles (ed.) Petri blesensis bathoniensis archidiaconi opera omnia (Oxonii: J. H. Parker, 1846-7) vol. 1, p. 91; translation from Walter Bower and D. E. R. Watt (eds.) Scotichronicon (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1987) vol. 7, p. 61.
  • Old people remember what interests them: the dates fixed for their lawsuits, and the names of their debtors and creditors.
  • Litigation is the pursuit of practical ends, not a game of chess.
  • Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser — in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.
    Never stir up litigation. A worse man can scarcely be found than one who does this. Who can be more nearly a fiend than he who habitually overhauls the register of deeds in search of defects in titles, whereon to stir up strife, and put money in his pocket? A moral tone ought to be infused into the profession which should drive such men out of it.
    • Abraham Lincoln, Fragment, Notes for a Law Lecture (1 July 1850?), cited in Abraham Lincoln: Complete Works, Comprising his Speeches, Letters, State Papers, and Miscellaneous Writings, Vol. 2 (1894).
  • "Lawsuit mania"… a continual craving to go to law against others, while considering themselves the injured party.
  • O Spirit of litigation, know,
    When we keep silent in this season,
    The stem of multiple lilies grew
    Too large to be contained by reason
  • Today the courts are choked with lawsuits brought by people against the New King. When they sue each other as a result of an automobile accident they in fact sue the King, for both parties are likely insured. ... Steadily the courts have become clearing-houses for the insurance industry.
    • Gerry Spence, From Freedom to Slavery : The Rebirth of Tyranny in America (1996), Ch. 6: The New King: Tyranny of the Corporate Core, p. 91.
  • No wonder lawyers, who control the legal system, have fought so hard, and with great success, against "no fault" insurance. No fault, no lawsuits. No lawsuits, no lunch.
    • Andrew Tobias, The Invisible Bankers, Everything The Insurance Industry Never Wanted You To Know (1982), Chapter 10, Too Many Lawyers, p. 172.
  • As one gets older, litigation replaces sex.
    • Gore Vidal, quoted in profile by Martin Amis, "Mr. Vidal: Unpatriotic Gore" (1977) in The Moronic Inferno (1987).
Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 163.
  • Englishmen may have been law-abiding, but they have not been unlitigious.
    • Brett, L.J., Martin v. Mackonochie (1879), 4 L. R. Q. B. 749.
  • Though every attempt to shorten litigation is entitled to the favour of the Court,1 yet before we stop a party in a regular course of proceeding, we ought to be certain that we shall not deprive him of that justice which the law authorizes him to seek.
    • Lord Eldon, C.J., Martin v. Kennedy (1800), 1 Bos. & Pull. 70.
  • The law is too tenacious of private peace, to suffer litigations to be negotiable.
    • Joseph Yates, J., dissenting in Millar v. Taylor (1769), 4 Burr. Part IV., p. 2385.
  • Proceedings at law are sufficiently expensive.
  • Expedit reipublicie ut sit finis litium: It is for the public good that there be an end of litigation.
    • Co. Lift. 303.
  • Debet estefinit litium: There ought to be an end of law suits.
    • Jenk. Cent. 61.
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