Dispute Resolution & Litigation

Being involved in a legal dispute is a stressful experience, regardless of which side you are on. If you find yourself in a dispute, getting legal advice from an experienced lawyer early can save you time and money. We are skilled in alternative dispute resolution processes and litigation. We can assist with a range of legal disputes including:

  • contract disputes / breach of contract
  • partnership and shareholder matters
  • debt recovery and insolvency issues
  • commercial and retail leasing disputes
  • building and construction matters
  • property and neighbourhood disputes
  • property damage claims
  • motor vehicle accident claims
  • personal injury claims
  • disputed estates and family provision claims

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Before you decide to go to court, it might be possible to resolve your dispute in some other way. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to various procedures used to resolve a dispute without going to court. ADR includes negotiations or engaging in informal settlement conferences, as well as more structured processes such as mediation, conciliation, or arbitration.

Many areas of civil litigation require parties to attempt to resolve their issues with an ADR process before a matter can be heard in court. ADR procedures are generally less formal and, often, less costly options for resolving a dispute than litigation.

Not only do ADR processes have the potential to resolve matters quickly and cost effectively, but they offer benefits that court processes cannot, such as:

  • creative solutions not available by order of the court;
  • less adversarial than a court hearing with a lower threshold for evidence; and
  • control over the outcome, which is not possible if a matter proceeds to litigation and a court makes orders.

If a matter is resolved using an ADR process, it is necessary to enter into an agreement properly reflecting the terms of settlement. As every dispute is different and may involve multiple parties and different issues, it is essential to get legal advice on any terms of settlement before agreeing on them. This ensures you understand your rights and obligations and avoids future issues.

Litigation – going to Court

Not every matter can be resolved through negotiation or mediation and sometimes, your only option may be to commence or defend proceedings in court. If this is the case, getting the procedure right is critical to securing a good outcome and avoiding costs orders.

Litigation is the commencement of legal proceedings in a relevant court or tribunal with jurisdiction to hear and determine a matter in dispute and order a remedy. Legal action must be commenced within a prescribed time, otherwise the claim will become statute barred. Before commencing litigation, you should obtain an objective assessment of the legal and practical merits of your case.

The cause of action must relate to the breach of a specific law or laws, be clearly articulated, and supported by evidence which may require both expert and lay witness evidence.

Once an action commences in court, the parties must comply with practice directions and court processes regarding the filing and service of documents, participation in dispute resolution (where relevant), the format and filing of evidence, and attendance at directions hearings, status conferences and pre-trial hearings.

Parties involved in a litigated legal dispute may settle the matter at any stage without proceeding to a final court hearing. In such cases they will need to enter into a deed of settlement and consent orders to dispose of the proceedings in court.

If you are involved in a legal dispute, we can provide quality representation in and out of the formal court setting. We foster alternative dispute resolution processes as a quicker, less-expensive way to resolve your legal dispute. Should this not be viable however, we can draft your claim or defence, prepare evidence, and provide strong case-management and advocacy if your matter goes to court.

If you need assistance, contact one of our lawyers at [email protected] or call (02) 4987 3344 for expert legal advice.