In both life and business, the reality is that not all goes to plan.
Communications may break down; expectations may not be met; payments may not be met and obligations left unfulfilled.
Robertson Hyetts is here to help – in or out of court.
We focus on identifying the issues and the outcome you want to achieve and assisting you on that journey. We’re with you every step 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 on you and/or your business.
- Identify your objectives
- Focus on the legal rights and obligations of each party to the dispute
- Advise you as to what solutions a court or tribunal might deliver
- Analyse the options/problems/difficulties/opportunities
- Seek a resolution that’s the right balance
Our services include:
- Both bringing and defending claims against deceased estates
- Building and construction cases
- Commercial disputes, particularly involving contracts involving land
- Joint venture, partnership and shareholder disputes
- Trade practices, consumer law and debt recovery
- Insurance claims
- Employment law including unfair dismissal and restraint of trade claims
In or out of court
Every case is different, but if court is the appropriate forum, we will 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 aggressive, 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.
From our clients
We recently had the experience of a long running property dispute that had its own complexity and uncertainty attached to it. Having retained Robertson Hyetts firstly for the property and town planning aspects and then moving into the litigation phase we found the management of our file to be sound and the advice received along the way to be exactly what we needed.
No outcome in a legal dispute is perfect although, in our case, we achieved a positive result that more than helped our situation and restored a balance to our lives. We wouldn’t hesitate in recommending the team at Robertson Hyetts.
Wayne & Lisa Smith
Contact us or phone: Bendigo 03 5434 6666; Castlemaine 03 5472 1588
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