No, there are a number of options available to the parties to settle any dispute without the need for Court proceedings. We will discuss the best options for your situation with you.
Wills Dispute Resolution Solicitors
Court litigation may be necessary to resolve your dispute, but it is not the only way. Our experts will advise you on all the alternatives to contested court proceedings including mediation.
We will listen to and work with you to find the best way forward. Our experienced lawyers will not lose sight of the emotional impact that the involvement of lawyers can have, especially in cases that can challenge family relationships. Our team can help you resolve disputes sensitively and cost-effectively in a supported environment.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Non court dispute resolution options – often called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)- include:
- Settlement meetings
- Early Neutral Evaluation
- Solicitor negotiation and correspondence
There is always an opportunity for the parties to explore Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) before the costs of Court proceedings are incurred. This is also expected of the parties by the Court.
ADR methods can include informal settlement meetings (with or without lawyers in attendance) or a more formal mediation, both of which can resolve the dispute at an early stage. If neither of these are feasible or possible, the matter might be capable of being settled in correspondence or the parties can jointly seek an objective assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the parties’ cases through early neutral evaluation, which can be a useful mechanism for the purposes of negotiations.
The parties to a potential dispute will be expected to engage in pre-action conduct before Court proceedings are commenced.
This will include both parties complying with disclosure obligations by exchanging information and documentation at an early stage. This can assist the parties in understanding their respective cases and narrowing the issues in dispute.
It is also helpful to exchange evidence early, including any expert evidence, which may assist in achieving a cost effective resolution to the matter before Court proceedings.
Legal cost implications
If a party does refuse to engage in ADR, there can be significant consequences.
The costs of the proceedings are ultimately within the discretion of the Court. Usually, the losing party will pay the winning party’s costs, though there are some circumstances in which costs can be paid out of the estate. However, when deciding who is to pay the costs of the proceedings the Court will take into account the conduct of the parties throughout, which will include to what extent they have engaged in ADR.
If one party has refused to engage, they may be penalised heavily in costs, paying not only their own costs but also the opponent’s costs, irrespective of whether they win or lose.
It can be possible to obtain insurance to protect against being ordered to pay another party’s costs or obtain third party funding to pay legal fees as they are incurred.
Conditional Fee Agreements
You may be able to obtain some form of Conditional Fee Agreement (otherwise known as a CFA or ‘no win no fee’ agreement), where payment of your legal fees is contingent upon a successful outcome (including settlement). If you are successful, you would again be expected to pay a proportion of your recovered monies to the firm providing the CFA.
We will discuss with you whether the likely outcome of the case will justify the likely risk/expense that you will run in pursuing the case.