Dispute Resolution

At some stage, you or your business may become involved in a legal dispute and may need to consider your options to resolve the matter. Understanding the legal issues involved and your rights is essential to effectively deal with the matter and minimise unnecessary cost and stress.

We can provide advice and structured guidance to help resolve a range of legal disputes including:

  • Business and commercial matters
  • Partnership and shareholder disputes
  • Debt recovery and contractual issues
  • Consumer complaints
  • Building and construction disputes
  • Will disputes and family provision claims
  • Intellectual property disputes
  • Insurance claims
  • Leasing disputes – commercial, retail and residential
  • Neighbourhood disputes
  • Property and planning disputes

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Most disputes can be resolved through negotiation, using processes such as mediation, rather than going to Court. This usually results in quicker, more flexible outcomes for the parties involved and can save costs. In most cases, processes such as mediation can help preserve the parties’ relationship which can be beneficial if they have ongoing personal or commercial arrangements.

Effective dispute resolution requires a skilled negotiator with a working knowledge across the relevant areas of law to recommend strategies that deliver the most viable solution possible in the circumstances. Your lawyer will:

  • obtain the relevant facts;
  • identify and narrow down the issues in dispute;
  • identify and apply the relevant areas of law;
  • assess the parties’ respective legal positions;
  • assess the strengths and weaknesses of each side;
  • propose options that will deliver the best possible outcome for the client in all of the circumstances.

The effectiveness of a dispute resolution process depends on the willingness of the parties to make genuine attempts and to negotiate in good faith. Any agreement reached can be formalised in legally binding terms of settlement.

Commencing Court proceedings

While alternative dispute resolution is generally a more cost-effective way to resolve legal disputes, despite best efforts, it may be impossible to resolve the matter in this way. In such cases, we may need to assess your matter and advise on the likely prospects of success, and the pros and cons of pursuing the matter in Court. Only then, can you make an informed decision to commence litigation.

What is litigation?

Litigation refers to the commencement of legal proceedings with the aim of resolving a disputed matter with the Court’s assistance. A civil Court dispute generally arises when two or more parties are unable to resolve a matter concerning their respective legal rights and obligations. The nature and value of these matters can vary significantly and accordingly, different Courts (and Tribunals) have been established based on the type of dispute and the monetary value of a claim.

Court proceedings are commenced by the aggrieved party (the plaintiff) filing a summons or application in the relevant jurisdiction, identifying the party against whom a remedy is sought (the defendant). The claim usually includes a statement of facts summarising the circumstances of the case, identifies the ‘complaint’ or area of law breached, and states the remedy sought.

The litigation process requires sound preparation and involves compliance with Court formalities and technicalities regarding evidence. Court disputes can be expensive and emotionally draining. The decision to commence or defend proceedings should be carefully considered and weighed against the likelihood of success and, if successful, the feasibility of enforcing any orders against the other party.

By the time a party instigates Court proceedings, the relationship between opposing sides is already contentious. The dispute often involves more than one issue and area of law, and there are always two or more versions of events.

We understand the impact that a legal dispute can have on your life, your business and your wellbeing and will always recommend the most effective course of action, taking into account your circumstances and objectives.

If you need any assistance contact one of our lawyers at [email protected] or call 03 9755 8345 for a no-obligation discussion and for expert legal advice.