What is Litigation?

Litigation is taking a legal dispute to court. Depending on the size of the claim, the action is brought in either the Magistrates, District (County) or Supreme Courts. Disputes, such as tax disputes are under federal legislation. They are heard in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and Federal Court.

If you bring the action, then you are the “plaintiff”. The person you are up against is the “defendant”. A good litigator tries to keep you out of court because:

It is expensive.

Sometimes, winning is a lottery, irrespective of how good your case is. (While you may have been living the nightmare over many years, the judge only has a limited time to hear what everyone has to say.)

At Civic Legal with your professional advisers we hunt down systemic issues that lead to disputes. We work with your accountant, lawyer and adviser to address poor corporate governance, staff training and contract management to reduce the chance of the problem happening again.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

There is an alternative to going to court. It is called “alternative dispute resolution” or 'ADR'. This includes negotiation, mediation and arbitration. It can cost less and be quicker. There is often a lot of hatred at the end of court cases. In contrast, ADR often helps retain relationships as it is more akin to fostering cooperation and compromise, rather than the traditional adversarial means of going to court.

ADR includes:

Negotiation

This is where you get together with the other side without a neutral third party. You still have skilled lawyers by your side. Negotiations have no force of law. Therefore, the parties are free to explore win / win situations without shame or risk. Once agreed we then prepare up a legally binding agreement for signing.

Mediation

In mediation a “mediator” facilitates negotiations. The mediator (while independent and neutral) does not adjudicate. They have no “judge” type roll. They are father figures designed to help tease out a settlement from an unfathomable mess. Again outcomes are not legally binding. We prepare up a legal document for the parties to sign. Mediation is either voluntary or ordered by the court.

Arbitration

An “arbitrator” hears both sides of the dispute. They make a legally binding ruling on both parties. Arbitrators are powerful. They actively participate. They accept evidence, question witnesses, and dish out appropriate remedies.

Going to court

Generally, from our experience, ADR is more pleasant and profitable than going to court. If ADR doesn’t work then you need to have your day in court.

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