Dispute Resolution & Litigation

The implications of a legal dispute, whether between individuals, small businesses, or large corporations, can be devastating. Personal legal battles can be emotionally and financially draining, and commercial disputes can damage the profitability and reputation of a business. If you find yourself facing a legal problem, we offer expert advice and representation in and out of the courtroom. We can help with a range of legal disputes including:

  • Contract and breach of contract disputes
  • Consumer claims
  • Property disputes
  • Commercial and retail leasing disputes
  • Partnership and shareholder disputes
  • Debt recovery
  • Defamation proceedings
  • Copyright infringement
  • Building and construction disputes
  • Estate disputes and family provision claims

What is Dispute Resolution?

The law establishes a set of rules so that people can manage different types of disputes privately. When a party does not voluntarily comply with the rules, or they disagree with their interpretation, then designated courts have the power to make a determination, order a remedy and force compliance. Dispute resolution covers the management of a dispute from the point at which it first arises until it is finally resolved. Litigation is the most formal example of dispute resolution, but there are several alternatives which fall under the umbrella of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to a range of processes that can be used to resolve a legal dispute without resorting to litigation. ADR includes negotiations, informal settlement conferences, conciliation, and mediation.

When direct negotiation does not lead to a resolution, then the involvement of a neutral third party can be of great assistance. For instance, a mediator can look impartially at the situation and help each party see the other’s position. The mediator will not make the decision for the parties but will encourage them to reach a compromise. With goodwill, mediation is often successful in reaching an outcome that is satisfactory to both parties.

Mediation and other ADR processes can save time and money over court processes and may be used to resolve many types of legal disputes. In fact, taking part in an ADR process is often a requirement before taking court action or before a matter reaches a final hearing.

In addition to the cost and time savings, ADR may provide more flexible solutions by allowing the parties an opportunity to explore outcomes that may not be available through formal court processes. There is typically a lower evidentiary threshold than in court proceedings which can also reduce costs and time. If an agreement is reached using an ADR process, it can be formalised in legally binding terms of settlement.

What is Litigation?

Despite best attempts to resolve a dispute through ADR, it is sometimes necessary, and warranted to commence court proceedings or to defend a litigated matter. In such cases, the facts must be carefully analysed, and a reasonable assessment made of possible outcomes, so a potential litigant can make an informed decision and, if relevant, prepare for Court.

When commencing proceedings, the cause of action must be properly identified in the summons or application. The parties must comply with strict timetables and formalities for the filing and presentation of evidence, the strength of which will be tested during the hearing.

Court proceedings require thorough preparation and strong advocacy. Our litigation team will work closely with you so that you are aware of your options and properly prepared for your case.

Managing your Legal Dispute

Clients involved in a legal dispute require a strategic yet practical approach to resolve their matter as quickly as possible. The complexity of a legal dispute can vary and often involves more than one area of law. Effective dispute resolution requires a skilled negotiator with a working knowledge across various areas of law to:

  • Obtain the relevant facts and identify the applicable laws
  • Narrow down the legal issues in dispute
  • Assess the parties’ respective legal positions
  • Assess the strengths and weaknesses of each side
  • Propose solutions that will deliver the best outcome for the client in all the circumstances

No matter who or what your legal dispute involves, getting early legal advice can be key to achieving a fast, effective solution.

If you need assistance, contact one of our solicitors at [email protected] or call 02 6885 0025 for expert legal advice.