In life and business, not all goes to plan. Communications may break down, expectations may not be met, payments may be missed and obligations left unfulfilled.
In or out of court, Robertson Hyetts is here to help.
We identify the issues and outcomes you want to achieve and assist you in reaching them. We work with you to find a solution that is timely, makes commercial sense, and if possible, preserves relationships in the process.
Dispute resolution describes a number of processes – negotiation and settlement, mediation and arbitration, or litigation in the court system. Often the terms ‘ADR’ or ‘alternate dispute resolution’ are used – ’alternate’ meaning other than through court.
Our dispute resolution team has extensive experience both in mediation and negotiation. We practice extensively in State and Federal courts and tribunals at all levels, including Magistrates, County and Supreme Courts, and VCAT (the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal).
Our advice is proactive, expedient and strategic. We focus on minimising the stress, cost and impact to you and your business.
In or out of court
If court is the appropriate forum, we navigate you through the obligations of parties to a dispute under the Civil Procedure Act, and if proceedings are issued, maximise the opportunity for a pre-trial solution.
Almost all courts and tribunals have a built-in compulsory mediation process that parties must explore. Throughout the entire process, our aim is to ensure that you maintain ownership of the dispute and make informed decisions.
If you have to go to court, we will be assertive, focused and determined in delivering the best outcome for you.
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.