Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Dispute resolution is a term that covers the management of a dispute from the point at which it first arises until it is resolved. Litigation is the most formalised example of dispute resolution, but there are various other ways to resolve disputes, which are grouped together as alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

The process of going to court is likely to cement differences between parties involved in a legal dispute. Accordingly, families in dispute over a will, parents trying to agree on arrangements for their children, and neighbours who need to live in harmony should think very carefully before embarking on litigation. Similarly, parties to a commercial dispute should consider resolving their differences in ways that will help preserve their commercial relationship so they may continue working together.


Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes range from the informal self-help approach (such as having a chat with your neighbour about a fencing issue) to a hearing before an industrial arbitrator, which can look very much like a formal court hearing.

 At the least formal level is typically negotiation and mediation, which allows the parties to design a solution themselves. When direct negotiation does not lead to a resolution, then the involvement of a neutral third party can be of great assistance. For instance, a mediator can look impartially at the situation and help each party see the other’s position. The mediator will not make the decision for the parties but will try and help the parties reach a compromise. With good will, a mediation is often successful in reaching an outcome satisfactory to both parties.

 Conciliation is a more formalised process, where the conciliator will suggest a proposal to resolve the dispute, although the parties are not obliged to adopt the proposal.

 There is also arbitration, where the parties usually agree to be bound by the decision of an arbitrator. Arbitration is more formal than other forms of ADR, but the parties have more flexibility to set the rules than in litigation.

 Finally, parties can agree to a process called private judging, where they hire a legal expert and submit to that person’s decision about their dispute.


Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal

 For certain disputes, when the parties cannot reach an agreement themselves, they can ask a third party to make the decision. For instance, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) is an independent tribunal that resolves disputes on a range of matters including tenancy disputes, consumer matters, disputes between neighbours, and minor debt disputes. Although parties usually represent themselves at QCAT, you can seek legal advice before lodging your application so that you can put forward the strongest possible case.


What is Litigation?

 Litigation is the process of presenting evidence and arguments before a court or tribunal. It is the most formalised example of dispute resolution. Litigation can be an effective vehicle to resolve a dispute, but should generally be a last resort, particularly when the parties need to keep a workable connection in the future.

Litigation or the threat of litigation can be daunting for anyone, whether you are trying to enforce your legal rights, or someone has a claim against you. We deal with all types of commercial litigation from Magistrates Court level through to the Supreme Court and Federal Court.

We have extensive experience in resolving commercial disputes including:

  • Commercial and contractual disputes
  • Property and leasing matters
  • Debt recovery and insolvency disputes
  • Estate litigation
  • Director, shareholder, and partnership disputes

Our litigation lawyers have many years standing. Not only do we have an intricate understanding of the law and process, but we also understand the toll, both financial and emotional, that litigation can have on the parties to a legal dispute. We always aim to resolve disputes quickly and economically. To this end, we look at all alternatives to litigation including strategic outcomes, negotiated settlements, mediation, and expert appraisal.

If you need assistance, contact one of our lawyers at [email protected]  or call 07 3391 7511 for expert legal advice.