Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Destra Law is a litigation and dispute resolution law firm. Our lawyers act on behalf of clients in complex litigated disputes, providing cost-effective and strategic advice to clients. Our primary practice areas are commercial, litigation, wills and estates litigation and family law with a particular focus on:

  • Franchise disputes and franchising law
  • Contractual and consumer law dispute
  • Estate disputes including claims made pursuant to Part IV of the Administration and Private Act 1958
  • Shareholder and business disputes
  • Complex family law property matters
  • Employment law including unfair dismissal, general protections and underpayment claims

Our lawyers encourage alternative dispute resolution such as mediation in order to resolve legal disputes in a timely and cost-effective manner.

What is involved in a litigated matter?

Litigation involves a number of steps and is different in each jurisdiction. A typical civil dispute, might look like this:

  • Writing to the other side or contacting them by other means to clearly explain your position and demanding that they rectify their conduct within a specified time-frame.
  • If the other side is cooperative, engaging in discussions to try and resolve the matter without the need to issue Court proceedings.
  • If necessary, issuing Court proceedings.
  • Attending a mediation where the parties negotiate with each other to resolve the matter on the day. This is often required by the Court before having a final hearing of your matter;
  • Attending a final hearing of the matter. At the final hearing:
    1. Lawyers from both sides will typically make opening submissions which involve explaining their case to the Court.
    2. The plaintiff’s witnesses will then give their evidence. This is called an examination in chief. The defendant’s lawyers will then cross-examine the plaintiffs’ witnesses.
    3. The defendants’ witnesses will give their evidence followed by being cross-examined by the plaintiff’s lawyers.
    4. Lawyers on both sides will make their closing submissions which involves persuading the judge to make the decision that you want by explaining what the issues are, what the law is and what evidence you are relying on so that the Court will find in your favour.
  • The Court makes a decision and final orders are made. Final orders record the outcome of the hearing. For example, where a debt is involved and that debt has been proven in Court, final orders may require the losing party to pay the winning party the debt, interest and the winning party’s legal costs.

Mediation

Mediation is a structured negotiation process in which an independent mediator assists the parties in negotiating an agreement to resolve their dispute. Mediation is useful as it allows parties to come to a compromise without the need to go to court. There are a number of advantages to mediation including the following:

  • You can avoid the legal costs of preparing and running a trial;
  • You can exert greater control of the outcome because you are agreeing on a decision rather than letting a court make the decision for you;
  • You can avoid the stress of a court trial; and
  • Mediation is private, and the terms of any agreement can require the parties to maintain confidentiality. In contrast, many court hearings and judgments are recorded and accessible to the public.

Pre-litigated dispute resolution

You do not have to issue court proceedings before you attempt to resolve your dispute through mediation. Pre-litigated dispute resolution is increasing in popularity as it allows parties to come together to negotiate an outcome before even having to issue court proceedings. Resolving a matter before any court proceedings can contain your legal fees and ensures that you avoid the uncertainty of litigation.

A pre-litigated mediation is similar to a court-ordered mediation, however, there are no proceedings on foot. At a pre-litigated mediation, the participants would typically have lawyers represent them and the parties would engage a mediator to mediate between them.

Jurisdictions

Destra Law acts on behalf of clients in litigated matters in the following jurisdictions:

  • Supreme Court of Victoria
  • County Court of Victoria
  • Magistrates Court of Victoria
  • Federal Circuit Court of Australia
  • Federal Court of Australia
  • Family Court of Australia
  • Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)

The information is intended to be a general guide only and is not intended to constitute professional or legal advice. Destra Law expressly disclaims any and all liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information on this webpage. To discuss concerns about any litigated matters, please do not hesitate to contact Destra Law on 03 9898 8282, at info@destralaw.com.au or by filling out our contact form.