Litigation is a huge and complex topic and area of law, ranging from business disputes to radically different areas such as medical negligence compensation claims. It is impossible to cover it in a single page or post, so we thought it might be useful to instead give some brief and practical tips top anyone, whether a business or individual, with a potential legal dispute.
Please note that these tips are not legal advice (if you want litigation lawyers, we list a few at the end of this post) each case is different, they are just general principles :-
- Remember there are rarely any outright winners in any legal dispute – the earlier this is realised the better
- Tactics are as important as the law
- It is always worth at least considering mediation
- It is vital, when you are the claimant, to consider and investigate, before starting any legal proceedings, whether the defendant would be able to financially meet any judgment and costs order you obtain – there is no point in suing someone if they can’t pay. This is one reason why, for example, compensation claims tend to be very popular because the defendant will invariably be insured and this means that on success, the insurance company will pay out.
- If a judgment is obtained, this in no way means you will get your money. The court will do nothing to enforce a county court judgment and the procedures available to a claimant cost money in court fees and many are not very effective
- If you instruct a lawyer it is vital that you are open and honest with the lawyer – clients have a tendency to only disclose one side of the story.
- One of the key parts of any case that proceeds some way down the litigation route is disclosure of documents. It is vital that both parties understand that they will be duty bound to disclose all relevant documents they have, not just those which are favourable to their own case.
- With some ares of law and types of claims, such as small claims matters, it is often better not to use lawyers, as you will not get an order for your fees to be paid by the opponent even if you win, but in other types of cases, timing and technicalities can cause a nightmare and big problems for the unwary. A good example of this is anything relating to lease disputes which can be very difficult for the inexperienced, so it is worth instructing solicitors on those cases.
General commercial disputes
No win no fee