Dispute resolution, it is a reality in business.
For any number of reasons, communications between parties can break down or obligations go unfulfilled, leaving an issue that needs to be resolved.
Dispute resolution may come in the form of negotiation and settlement, mediation, arbitration, or litigation in the court system. We have had extensive practice in the State and Federal court system including the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
This is where Robertson Hyetts come in. It’s our job to guide you through the dispute resolution process; we’re with you every step of the way.
Our approach to dispute resolution
Our approach is to identify your objectives and the associated risks. We focus on the outcomes you are hoping to achieve with the dispute resolution process.
We provide guidance and counsel on the advantages and disadvantages of every possible solution, and work with you to achieve a resolution, all the while being mindful of preserving your business relationships and minimising the cost and stress to you.
The best outcome
Our goal is the reach the best possible outcome for you. In many cases, resolving the issue without going to court will be the most timely and cost effective way to resolve the issue.
Dispute Resolution FAQs
These are often referred to as “ADR” or “Alternate Dispute Resolution” – “alternate” meaning other than going to Court. There are various processes parties can access, including:
When a dispute occurs, generally the parties first negotiate directly in an attempt to find a solution. If they don’t succeed, they often seek independent assistance to enable resolution. That assistance can take various forms, with the parties having control over the outcome in different ways, depending on whether a mediator, conciliator or arbitrator is engaged.
Mediation is the most common form of ADR, and often the first used when direct negotiations fail. The parties meet (usually over a day and at their shared cost) with a trained, accredited mediator who acts impartially and facilitates a discussion of the key issues and potential solutions. The mediator's role is to suggest and encourage what is most appropriate, but never to act as a judge and impose a solution. Whatever the most appropriate one might be, at the end of the day the parties have to agree on it and sign off on terms of settlement.
All mediation is confidential. If no solution is reached, the parties can’t use what is said at mediation in any later Court process.
It is important to consider all your circumstances when deciding which ADR avenue to go down. For example:
- Is there a form of ADR that the parties have agreed to in advance? (Most contracts and agreements have dispute resolution clauses).
- Are the parties in clear conflict with one another such that an independent person such as an arbitrator be appointed to determine what the solution is, as opposed to mediation?
- What is the worth and complexity of the dispute? Is it about a deceased estate in which the interests of many beneficiaries might be at stake?
These factors will assist you or your representatives in settling on the most appropriate ADR.
A lawyer can assist you to resolve a dispute prior to legal proceedings being issued. Parties have an obligation under the Civil Procedure Act to do so. Even after proceedings are filed, settlement discussions often continue "Without Prejudice" to the proceedings themselves. Most Courts now use ADR as part of the Court process to assist the parties to resolve their dispute prior to a final, defended hearing, and incurring the costs of that hearing.