1. What forms can a dispute take?
A dispute can take a number of different forms. A low-level dispute can be a disagreement between two people over something as simple a private car sale. Other disputes can be in relation to businesses, contracts, families, divorce, and child custody arrangements.
2. Does a dispute mean that I need to go to court?
No, there are a variety of ways to settle a dispute without having to go to court.
One way is to simply sit down and discuss the problem with the other party. This can work for low-level disputes but may not work well for others.
Alternative dispute resolutions include mediation with a third party and utilising things like family relationship centres.
Many contracts, particularly in building and construction, actually contain an alternative dispute resolution clause, where the parties are almost obliged to seek an alternative method without going to court.
When we, at Becker Watt Lawyers, become involved in a dispute case, we always consider alternative methods first. One of the many benefits of this includes saving money.
However, it’s important to understand that there are some occasions where the disputes can only really be resolved with the intervention of the court.
3. What is the cost of a dispute and why does it cost so much?
A normal matter to go through a court process will cost you in excess of $100, 000. That’s because there is a lot of expertise that goes into presenting a matter before the court.
There are usually a number of professionals involved, including 2-3 people from the legal practice, the engagement of council (barristers, etc), and expert witnesses.
By the time you engage with expert witnesses, take statements, exchange documents, prepare for a court hearing, etc, the costs do add up quickly.
4. Do I need a lawyer?
If you are in some form of dispute, it needs to be taken seriously, which is why legal representation is always recommended. It’s important for you to engage with a lawyer and work out a strategy (what you’re trying to achieve and how you’re trying to achieve it).
Often, you will need more than one strategy – e.g. a strategy to achieve a resolution and another to prepare for court if the first one fails.