The term literally means punishment. Sanctions most commonly refers to a penalty imposed by the tribunal on a litigant or their counsel for some perceived misconduct in the course of the litigation. Most lawyers regard being sanctioned as very damaging to their , while a judge stationing a party tends to indicate that a case is going badly. Sanctions can take a variety of forms, including fines, requirements to pay some or all of the other party’s costs, orders that a party may not advance evidence on a particular issue (common in discovery misconduct), or a directed verdict of finding by the judge or tribunal on an issue in the case, or even outright dismissal of a claim or defence. A judge or tribunal will usually make statements that are at least broad hints, or even direct warnings, to a party to amend its conduct before issuing sanctions.

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