Dispute Resolution & Litigation
Being involved in a legal dispute can be overwhelming, whether you are arguing over a property boundary, or your business is facing litigation. We are skilled negotiators and will try to resolve your matter out of court wherever possible. If your dispute becomes litigated, we can provide expert court representation for a range of civil matters, including:
- commercial and business disputes
- contract and consumer law disputes
- partnership and shareholder disputes
- will and estate disputes, family provision claims
- debt collections
- bankruptcy and insolvency
- building and construction matters
- property and leasing disputes
- neighbourhood disputes
Before going to Court
Before taking a case to court, it is generally recommended (or required) to try to resolve your matter using an alternative dispute resolution process such as negotiation, mediation, or conciliation. These processes are typically less formal and less expensive than litigation and can offer more flexible solutions than what might otherwise be ordered in court.
Negotiation is usually the first attempt to resolve a dispute. It involves parties communicating directly, either speaking with each other or in writing to try to reach an agreement. Each party may appoint a legal representative to advise and negotiate on their behalf.
Mediation involves a neutral person (the mediator) meeting with the parties to a dispute and assisting them to reach a resolution. Typically, mediation is confidential. The mediator is facilitative and does not provide legal advice, nor determine the dispute. Mediation can be effective when parties are willing to negotiate in good faith and make genuine attempts to resolve their issues. If an agreement is reached, negotiations can be formalised by the parties entering terms of settlement. If an agreement is not reached, the process may still prove useful by narrowing down the issues in dispute.
Conciliation is a process by which the parties in a dispute try to reach an agreement with the help and advice of an impartial person, referred to as a conciliator. The conciliator usually has some expertise regarding the type of matter disputed and can advise parties of their respective rights and obligations.
Effective dispute resolution
We encourage alternative dispute resolution processes to deal with most legal disputes, however we can assist with your matter whether it is negotiated, mediated or litigated.
Effective dispute resolution requires a skilled negotiator with knowledge across different areas of law and an understanding of the rules of evidence and court processes. To provide appropriate advice, a lawyer will need to:
- obtain the relevant facts
- identify and refine the issues in dispute
- identify and apply the relevant areas of law
- assess each parties’ legal position and the strengths and weaknesses of their respective cases
- propose a solution or plan that delivers the best and most cost-effective outcome for the client in the circumstances
Going to court
Despite best efforts, it is sometimes not possible to resolve a dispute through an alternative dispute resolution process. In such cases, we will carefully assess your matter and its likely prospects if litigated so you can make an informed decision to commence proceedings or defend the matter in court.
Civil litigation is the process of having a legal dispute heard and determined through a relevant court or tribunal. Proceedings are based on an alleged breach of a specific law or laws which must be clearly set out in the summons or application commencing proceedings, and supported with appropriate evidence.
Legal proceedings are expensive and time consuming, but may be the only option where the parties are intractable, there is a need for urgent orders such as an injunction, or to defend action taken against you or your business.
Once proceedings commence, the parties must comply with the relevant court practice directions and processes for the filing and service of documents, the format and filing of evidence, and the attendance at directions hearings, status conferences and pre-trial hearings.
A litigated matter may settle between the parties at any stage before proceeding to the final hearing. In such cases the parties will need to enter into a deed of settlement and consent orders to dispose of the proceedings in court.
We have helped many clients find cost-effective solutions for a range of civil legal disputes. We are practical and insightful – while we encourage negotiation and mediation, we are skilled advocates with a working knowledge of court processes and can provide quality representation in court if necessary.