DEFINITION of First To File Rule

The first to file rule states that whoever is the first party to file a lawsuit is awarded their home courts for the location of the trial or legal proceedings. The first to file rule provides an advantage in that the litigator may be familiar with the judge/court and will not have to incur any extra costs such as travel expenses. They also would not have to leave their home to stay in a hotel for the duration of the trial. The first to file rule is just a general rule. It is not a law that dictates all proceedings. Exceptions can be made.

BREAKING DOWN First To File Rule

The first to file rule is a general rule stating that when multiple parties are filing a lawsuit, the first to file is awarded their home courts. This means that the proceedings will be held in their home jurisdiction. Often, a change of location can be made as per a request, however, you run the risk of offending the local court as well as impeding on another, perhaps more crowded court. This means that the trial may be put on hold and dealt with in the order it was received by the new court which could be a significant delay.