Litigation is defined as an action between two parties in a dispute and attempting to enforce or defend their legal rights. The plaintiff is the party that initiates a lawsuit, and the defendant is the party against which the lawsuit is made. Both the plaintiff and the defendant are referred to as litigants.
The process of litigation does not necessarily have to do with a court appearance. Many cases are settled outside of the course by working out an agreement that is suitable to both parties. At times, it does go to court which may involve a judge or a jury for the judicial process and final resolution. A lawsuit is different from litigation; in fact, litigation includes the process of a lawsuit as well as all the activities prior to and after a lawsuit.