If you or your business is involved in a commercial dispute, your biggest concerns are likely the financial losses that your organisation could suffer and your legal costs.
By following our 5 top tips, you can reduce your legal costs while assisting your lawyer in providing you with efficient and tailored advice.
1. Get legal advice promptly
It may be tempting to try to resolve a dispute without legal assistance, however, the sooner you know your legal rights, the better.
Consulting a lawyer may help you to identify the correct legal cause of action or applicable defences available and understand the full extent of your legal rights without wasting valuable time and resources.
2. Prepare a summary of your case
Before you first meet with your lawyer, have a clear picture of the facts of your dispute.
You can help to reduce legal costs by preparing a detailed table setting out a chronological list of facts and events relating to the dispute. This will assist your lawyer in identifying relevant legal issues and recommending the most appropriate action.
Compiling documents relevant to the dispute and presenting it in an organised manner will also have cost-saving benefits.
3. Be clear about what you want to achieve
Understanding the commercial drivers behind the objectives you wish to achieve in your legal dispute will assist you in negotiating an outcome or deciding on strategic steps in legal proceedings.
Commercial disputes can be complex. The strategy in approaching a commercial dispute is influenced by a range of factors, including:
- the relevant facts and the issues in dispute
- the parties’ respective legal and financial positions
- the strengths and weaknesses of each parties case and the available evidence
Generally, a strategic and pragmatic solution that avoids expensive litigation, if possible, and mitigates financial and other loss will be the desired outcome.
An experienced lawyer will assist you to consider these factors, to work towards the most appropriate commercial objective in light of the circumstances of your dispute.
4. Manage communications and meetings
Before calling or meeting with your lawyer, consider the relevant matters that you wish to discuss, and write down any questions so communications can be kept on track and the information exchanged is valuable and useful to your matter.
Sending an email to your lawyer setting out your questions before a meeting or a telephone call will assist you to save costs and assist your lawyer to provide you with efficient advice.
5. Explore alternative dispute resolution processes
There are various processes available for resolving disputes before, or without, resorting to litigation. In most cases, your lawyer will recommend using one of these processes in the first instance.
Negotiation and mediation can save time and money and provide more flexible outcomes than what may be available through the Courts. Both Negotiation and mediation may provide the parties to the dispute a greater opportunity to preserve their relationship, which is particularly beneficial where ongoing business arrangements are in place.
For some matters, urgent Court proceedings should be commenced, for example where real property is at risk or there is immediate danger of losing assets or money. In such cases, you should make this clear to your lawyer so proceedings, such as an application for an injunction or the lodgement of a caveat, can be initiated immediately.
The complexity of a commercial dispute can be daunting, and the potential for legal costs to escalate is real when a matter is not managed correctly. Fortunately, clients can take steps to keep legal costs down while assisting their lawyer in providing sound advice to help resolve their dispute.
If you need more information or if you need assistance or legal advice please contact us.