Over the past few weeks you may have read solicitors, barristers and other legal professionals comments on the Johnny Depp v Amber Heard and the so-called Wagatha Christie trials. Many in the profession are explaining why lawyers discourage their clients from having their day in court.
At Bell Lax Solicitors we consider there are significant benefits for parties in seeking to settle their claims through dispute resolution mechanisms and negotiations as opposed to litigation.
Avoiding litigation saves time
The court process is not a quick fix for a dispute. There are many hurdles to overcome and strict Pre-Action Protocols that must be complied with before trial where a judgment is finally handed down. It can take years from the date you issue your claim for the matter to reach trial.
As part of the litigation process, the court sets out a detailed timetable that parties must adhere to. This includes, but is not limited to, exchanging copies of all documents that are harmful or helpful to your case, obtaining expert reports, and drafting lengthy witness statements. The litigation process is onerous and expensive.
By contrast, negotiations and other alternative dispute resolution mechanisms are less strict and much quicker at resolving disputes between parties.
Avoiding litigation saves money
Whilst having your ‘day in court’ may seem like the best thing to do and may give you a sense of justice, it is important to remember that litigation is neither cheap nor stress free. Parties can and often will spend tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees alone.
Going to trial also involves court fees, expert fees and barrister’s fees, which can add up quickly. There is never a guarantee that the outcome at a trial will be entirely satisfactory, and the tens of thousands of pounds you have spent fighting your case can feel ‘wasted’. These costs can be reduced or avoided, by reaching a settlement outside court.
Avoiding litigation minimises stress
As anyone who has gone to court will be able to tell you, trials are stressful. As evidenced in the Depp v Heard trial, parties are cross-examined ruthlessly, and evidence is scrutinised by opposing barristers. Then, at the end of the day, the outcome of the case, is decided by a judge, based on the evidence put before them.
Settlements take away the stress of the unknown and are much more amicable than adversarial trials. Settlements can also place more power in your hands to agree a settlement that is right for you, rather than allowing a judge to decide the outcome.
If you have a dispute and are considering taking action, please contact us on 0121 355 0011 to speak to one of our lawyers who will be happy to assist you. If possible, we will help you settle the issue in a timely manner to avoid the disadvantages of the court process.