Dispute Resolution & Litigation
The law functions to resolve disputes by establishing a set of rules so that people can manage different sorts of issues privately. When a person or organisation does not voluntarily comply with the rules, or the parties have a different interpretation of the law, the courts have the power to force compliance or determine an outcome. Legal disputes come in all types and sizes. They are often complex and almost always challenging. If left unresolved for a long time, they can become highly stressful, expensive and ruin relationships that might otherwise have been repaired.
We have seen many disputes and can help with a range of issues including:
- Property and leasing disputes.
- Breach of contract / contractual disputes.
- Consumer claims.
- Shareholder and partnership disputes.
- Debt recovery and insolvency matters.
- Estate disputes.
- Family provision claims.
- Intellectual property disputes
Using Alternative Dispute Resolution to Resolve your Legal Matter
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) includes several different processes that can be used to resolve a legal dispute without going to court.
Not only is attempting ADR now mandatory in many areas of the law, but it can also provide a cost-effective way to resolve a dispute before the need to prepare evidence.
ADR processes range from informal negotiations or settlement conferences to mediations involving an independent mediator to test each party’s position, and more court-like processes, such as arbitration and conciliation.
In addition to the potential cost savings, ADR can provide other benefits such as:
- a quicker resolution of the dispute – courts typically have long waiting lists and parties are often required to attend various directions hearings and status conferences before a final hearing.
- more flexible solutions than what might otherwise be ordered by a court.
- less formality than a court with a lower threshold for the presentation of evidence.
- an opportunity for the parties to preserve their relationship which can be beneficial if they are to continue having a connection, such as a co-parenting arrangement or a continuing commercial contract.
Choosing the appropriate process for your dispute may be the difference between resolving your matter at an early stage or ending up in protracted litigation.
If you do manage to settle your dispute, your agreement can be made legally binding through terms of settlement and a deed of release, which the parties can rely on to enforce the agreement and release them from further liability.
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Independent tribunals present an alternative stream of dispute resolution that try to divert parties away from the more formal court processes.
For instance, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is an independent tribunal that resolves disputes on a range of matters including tenancy disputes, consumer claims, disputes between neighbours, and minor debt disputes.
You can seek legal advice before lodging your application so that you put forward the strongest possible case.
You require VCAT’s permission for a solicitor speak on your behalf.
Litigation is the process of presenting evidence and arguments before a court or tribunal. It is the most formal example of dispute resolution. Proceedings must be commenced within a prescribed time, otherwise the claim will become statute barred. The cause of action must relate to the breach of a specific law or laws and be supported with evidence.
Once an action commences in court, the parties must comply with certain processes regarding the filing and service of documents, attendance at directions hearings or status conferences, and participation in dispute resolution (as relevant).
Litigation can be an effective vehicle to resolve a dispute, but it should be a last resort when the parties need to keep a workable connection in the future.
Families in dispute over a will, parents trying to agree arrangements for their children, and neighbours who need to live in harmony should think very carefully before embarking on litigation.
In all of these instances, the process of going to a court or tribunal is likely to cement differences.
How Can We Help with Your Legal Dispute?
When it comes to a legal dispute, we aim to provide alternatives.
In other words, litigation is always a last resort.
That said, we understand that some disputes simply cannot be resolved using an ADR process and litigation is a powerful way to assert your legal rights or defend your position.
If the courtroom is unavoidable, we have the knowledge and expertise necessary to advocate strongly on your behalf. We will work closely with you, explain your legal position and the implications of pursuing litigation, consult with you regularly, and guide you through the entire court process.
We act for both plaintiffs and defendants and can help if you believe that you have a claim against an individual or company or have received a letter of demand or a complaint/writ requiring a response.
Leaving aside the merits of any particular case, defendants are often not aware that, in certain matters, highly effective technical defences can be made out.
We are always available to discuss your case either in person or by telephone and pride ourselves on our accessibility, sensible advice and reasonable fees.