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.
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.
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.
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.