Dispute Management Services

Today, there are more options than ever to resolve your legal, commercial or family relationship disputes.

Courts recognise that litigation is often the last (and most expensive option) to solving a conflict.  So they provide pathways to litigation that involve and require the use of primary dispute resolution techniques (often referred to as ADR or Alternative Dispute Resolution) to reduce the issues, limit the need for extensive evidence and narrow the focus of the parties to just those matters that the parties themselves cannot resolve.

The most frequently used process is Mediation, but it is not the only one that is available.  Techniques which can also be employed and ordered by a court include:

          • Commercial Negotiation
          • Conciliation
          • Mediation
          • Expert Determination
          • Arbitration
          • Med-Arb

“In many areas of litigation, the costs incurred in the process bear no rational relationship, let alone a proportionate relationship, to what is at stake in the proceedings.”

James Spigelman, former Chief Justice NSW Supreme Court

For example, the parties can often agree about the quantum (the amount of money in dispute) even if they do not agree who is liable to pay it.  Have a look at the diagram below from the New South Wales Land & Environment Court to illustrate to litigants the likely course of their dispute (click on the diagram to enlarge)  Image © State of New South Wales through the Department of Attorney General and Justice.

Dispute Resolution Process in the NSW Land & Environment Court

This diagram graphically illustrates how the court procedures in preparing a claim for trial before a judge – the directions hearings leading to a final adjudication are assisted by the ongoing use of negotiation, mediation, conciliation and referral to referee (expert determination). Ancillary processes are required by the court to help the parties focus on just the issues that may have to be determined at the final adjudication stage.

Most matters, however, are disposed of by the other dispute processes and never reach the final hearing stage. For example, mediation is successful in 70-80% of cases.

Once parties are engaged in confidential discussions with a skilled facilitator they will often proceed to develop their own solutions, ones that generally cannot even be ordered by a court.

Only 5% of all matters litigated are ever determined by a court, but most of the money is spent in getting there.

“The Act’s objective is the reform of the culture of unnecessary expenditure on civil litigation. Parliament has intended that this reform can only be achieved by holding parties to account for undesirable civil litigation practices that are unfortunately too common.”

Victorian Court of Appeal in Yara Australia  v Oswal [2013] VSCA 337

So if you are ready to file a claim in Court contact us now.

We actively employ the very same processes that can be ordered by the court but we will arrange these processes before you go to the expense of preparing your claim for a hearing that may never occur.

We understand and are experts in planning, arranging and staging dispute resolution processes. We engage ALL parties in the process we can organise the venue assist you to identify and engage a dispute resolver and handle the administrative activities that can often cause parties grief – like just arranging a suitable date to hold a meeting or mediation.

Unlike a lawyer engaged by a party to a dispute we are not focussed on representing one group at the expense of another. We are professionally independent and work on behalf of ALL parties.

 

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The Authority site for information about Dispute Resolution in Australia