Legal proceedings are sometimes necessary in the course of a business when attempts to resolve a dispute informally have proved unsuccessful. Under such circumstances, a business owner is left with no alternative but to commence legal proceedings in order to enforce their rights.
Obviously this will involve a balancing act between the benefits that come with asserting your legal rights (financial and non-financial) and the costs (financial and non-financial). A lawyer can assist you to decide on which way to go.
For both the party that is suing (known as the “plaintiff”) and the party that is being sued (known as the “defendant”), the main issues to consider will be fundamentally the same:
- What is the best jurisdiction (eg Courts or Queensland Civil & Administrative Tribunal);
- What is the probability that the plaintiff will succeed?
- Is there sufficient documentary and other evidence to substantiate the allegations?
- Are there any defences that would be available to the defendant?
- How long is the case expected to run for?
- How much will your legal costs be (i) pre-trial and (ii) post-trial?
- If you lose, how much of the other party’s legal costs will you be required to also pay?
- What alternate avenues remain available to settle the case in a cost-effective manner?
- Is my lawyer sufficiently experienced in the subject matter of the dispute?
The key to managing your legal risks and minimising costs is to ensure that you present your best case as early as possible so that the other party has a good opportunity to reconsider its position at an early stage, and to seriously consider an out-of-court settlement as a realistically viable alternative.
If a trial ultimately becomes necessary, the challenge then is to implement certain strategies to ensure, not only that you increase your prospects of winning, but also that you do so in a cost-effective manner (such as by maximising the amount that the other party will be required to pay you in damages, interest as well as legal costs).
Winthrop Mason Lawyers can assist you by:
- Advising on your prospects of successfully prosecuting (plaintiff) or defending (defendant) your case at trial, including the specific risks and challenges likely to be faced at trial;
- Advising you on your estimated financial exposure as well as the costs involved in litigating;
- Advising on a range of possible settlement options for your case;
- Advising you on appropriate strategies to maximise the probability of a favourable outcome (whether in an out-of-court settlement or at trial);
- Interviewing witnesses and preserving important evidence, including those held by third parties;
- Preparing your case for trial and briefing counsel if necessary;
- Representing you at trial and presenting submissions on your behalf.
There are no guarantees of winning at a trial, so it is important that the risks involved in litigation are appropriately managed. We also have ways to ensure that your legal costs are contained so that litigation remains a viable option. For a no-obligation initial consultation, go ahead and give us a call.