“I’ll see you in Court” – but at what cost?
During everyday life you hear phrases such as, "I'll see you in Court" and "I'll have my day in Court", however in reality the consequences of matters reaching Court hearings are much more complex.
Court proceedings in Civil Litigation are lengthy and expensive and many people do not realise that there are many ways to resolve disputes which do not include the Courts. A selection of alternative dispute resolution methods will be explained below.
Solicitors are able to negotiate on your behalf to try and reach an equitable solution to the problem. This method aims to encourage both parties to compromise, but reach an outcome which both parties are comfortable with. This method can be achieved either in person or through telephone, letter, or e-mail communication.
Mediation is a more formal method of negotiation. Instead of both parties negotiating with one another, there is an impartial third party who will go between both parties to reach a settlement. This usually takes place in one location and aims to resolve disputes before a matter goes to Court. It is common that any decision will be made binding through documents signed that day, and any settlement that is agreed upon, will be made voluntarily between the parties.
This form of dispute resolution involves a neutral third party who acts to make a binding decision after all circumstances of the dispute have been evidenced. The decision that is made cannot usually be appealed however this method is much less expensive than using litigation in Court.
The preferred method of dispute resolution will depend greatly on the facts of any case, however it is important to recognise that Court proceedings are not always what people perceive them to be. Legal proceedings can be stressful and expensive, and the effectiveness of alternative dispute resolution should not be overlooked. Additionally, the Courts are known to penalise parties if some form of alternative dispute resolution has not been considered. Similarly, it is important to remember that when seeking legal advice, Court action is not the only option. Solicitors will be able to advise you on alternative methods of dispute resolution, which may result in a preferable, more cost effective outcome.