Sydun & Co Solicitors

Litigation in Australia: The Ultimate Guide from a Local Law Firm in Sydney / Surry Hills

The term “litigation” is sometimes used interchangeably with the word “lawsuit”. However, a lawsuit is generally just one aspect of a litigation matter, while litigation refers to the formal method and entire process of investigation, preparation and conduct of a claim using a number of conflict resolution processes including pursuing a claim through the courts.

In essence, litigation is a way for one party to try to protect, prosecute or enforce its legal rights against another party. Several alternative actions can be taken to uphold a party’s legal rights before or after a lawsuit. Hiring a litigation lawyer from the best law firms in Australia is one of the most effective ways to achieve success in litigation.

Types of Litigation

Civil litigation falls into three general categories: business/corporate based claims or actions, claims or actions by or between individuals that are based on personal issues and public interest based litigation. All civil litigation cases generally fall under these broad categories, each with a different scope and area of expertise.

Even though litigation issues differ, more law companies are expanding their practice areas to keep up with the shifting demands of their customers. You can hire a civil litigation lawyer for legal assistance during civil litigation.

The most common matters that can lead to litigation include the following:

  • Bankruptcy
  • Antitrust
  • Insolvency
  • Financial restructuring
  • Employment and labour
  • Intellectual property
  • Finance disputes
  • Product liability
  • Regulation and investigations
  • Construction and engineering
  • Shareholder disputes
  • Data protection
  • Privacy and cybersecurity
  • Environmental law
  • Defamation
  • Fraud and asset recovery
  • Property and real estate
  • Insurance
  • International arbitration
  • Transport, including aviation, rail and, shipping
  • Mining
  • Public and administrative law
  • Tax
  • Breach of contracts
  • Family law matters
  • Deceased estates
  • Disputes with neighbours
  • Accidents (ranging from motor vehicle, workers compensation to negligence)

Litigation Laws in Australia

Australian law is undeniably complicated with detailed knowledge. That required of Federal and state laws and the overlap between the two which makes getting professional advice from a civil lawyer in Sydney when dealing with litigation all the more crucial.

Australia’s federal system of government divides its authority between a central government and its many States.

Each State and Territory has its own distinct jurisdiction and hierarchy of courts inside it. These numerous court hierarchies are joined by the High Court of Australia, which serves as the last court of appeal on matters of law.

  • Financial claims that exceed a certain level (usually A$750,000 or more) are normally heard by State and Territory Supreme Courts.
  • The majority of states have two lower tiers of courts, Local and District Courts and various Tribunals.
  • Several states have created specialised courts and Tribunals with restricted jurisdiction for certain types of litigation.
  • Court based litigation and/or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures are two essential methods for anybody dealing with significant economic and other disputes.

An experienced and qualified business lawyer in Australia can help you understand the various steps and intricacies associated with

The Difference between Alternate Dispute Resolution and Litigations

  • Litigation is used to settle a disagreement through a court or tribunal where a judge determines the outcome of the case after arguments, evidence and submissions by each party.
  • Meanwhile, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) encompasses the following processes: expert determination, arbitration, and mediation. ADRs may be voluntarily engaged into or ordered by a court. Any expert determination is the process of referring a disagreement to a subject matter expert with experience to help the dispute negotiation process. This can be by way of a formal decision imposed on the parties by an arbitrator or the acceptance of a formal decision proposed by a mediator.

Time Limits for Bringing Civil Claims

Federal, state, or territorial law all have limitation periods. Depending on the underlying cause of action, limitation periods differ in duration. The time limit often begins when a disagreement occurs.

The Cost of a Litigation Process

Just as there are several types of lawsuits, so too are the associated costs different in each case. A rising number of people and organisations are dealing with greater legal bills and even making national headlines with their cases as an increasing number of cases fail to reach a conclusion within the intended timeline.

There are often two primary approaches to costs associated with litigation.

First, any engagement of a lawyer attracts legal fees. This is a standard term of any contract between a lawyer and a client. Those costs include the lawyers fees and expenses plus Court fees, witness fees and expenses, expert report and other fees and barristers fees to name a few. It may be that on achieving a successful outcome that a client recoups all or part of those fees and expenses. It is possible in certain jurisdictions to recoup nil fees and expenses (eg: family law matters were costs are not commonly awarded.) The range varies based on factors such as the individual circumstances of each case, the facts, the jurisdiction and the conduct of the case.

Secondly, conditional fees agreements, commonly referred to as No Win, No Fee arrangements are also made available to people who cannot afford legal bills in certain cases where there is a good prospect of success and a litigant with deep pockets such as an insurer. In these cases, the law company gets an uplift fee in addition to the standard professional fees and expenses.  

We recommend consulting with legal experts from the best law firms in Australia to get an estimate of the costs that you might incur during the litigation.

The Role of a Litigation Lawyer

A litigation lawyer, often known as a litigator, is a qualified lawyer who represents and defends their client’s interests in court. Their primary responsibilities include:

  • Taking detailed instructions, gathering evidence and forming a preliminary view on the potential causes of action, the rewards and a costs benefit analysis before proceeding.
  • Counselling their clients on the best course of action for resolving or avoiding conflicts and successfully representing them in court.
  • Engaging the right specialist to assist the litigation whether the barrister or the expert witness.
  • A litigation attorney represents their client’s interests throughout the entire litigation process, from the investigation and pleadings through the trial, settlement, and appellate hearings.
  • Litigation lawyers are also in charge of strategy, operating and conduct of the claims, appearing in interlocutory hearings, advocating before courts or tribunals, and necessary liaison with all parties.

Both the applicant (plaintiff) and the defendant in a case may be represented by a litigation attorney, or a business lawyer in Australia with relevant experience.

Litigants must adhere to a set of rules which are often lengthy, complicated, and expensive. In general, one party files a statement of claim or summons and the other party formally responds or defends the claim. The further conduct of the litigation is driven by the rules of evidence and procedure which differ between the various Courts and Tribunals.

Litigation can be a highly complex process. Consequently, to ensure that you go through minimal hassle during litigation, hire legal experts from the best law firms in Australia.

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