Litigation refers to the formal process of taking legal action in order to resolve a dispute. A litigation lawyer acts on your behalf when a dispute arises, whether it be in relation to a commercial dispute, family law matter or criminal proceedings.
Going to Court involves a number of steps and is different in each jurisdiction. The court process for family law matters is worlds apart from the court process for a commercial or business disputes such as a franchise agreement disputes. 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 (for example by paying you money they owe you) within a specified time-frame.
- If appropriate, engaging in discussions to try and resolve the matter without the need to issue Court proceedings.
- If necessary, issuing Court proceedings by preparing the relevant Court documents including the Writ, Originating Motion or other relevant originating process.
- 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:
- Lawyers from both sides will typically make opening submissions which involve explaining their case to the Court.
- 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.
- The defendants’ witnesses will give their evidence followed by being cross-examined by the plaintiff’s lawyers.
- 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 decides and final orders are made. Final orders are effectively 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 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 take their matter to trial. 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.
We can assist you with the following disputes:
- Contractual disputes
- Shareholders disputes
- Franchise disputes
- Property disputes
- Business disputes
- Contesting wills and will disputes
- Family law disputes
- Employment disputes
- Criminal law and criminal charges