Avoiding costly litigation

Taking a dispute about money to a hearing in the Supreme Court of Tasmania just became a lot more expensive.

Parliament recently passed legislation which provides Judges of the Supreme Court with a general and unrestricted power to award pre-judgement interest (currently 5.25%) in actions for the recovery of an amount of money. This provides our Judges with comparable powers that are currently available to Tasmanian Magistrates and Arbitrators as well as in other Australian jurisdictions and the Federal Court.

Nobody likes having to take legal action against another party as a result of a dispute, however, sometimes it is the only course of action available.  There are many situations when legal action is necessary but that does not always mean that you have to proceed to a trial.

If a dispute proceeds to a trial it can take several years; the decision of the court of first instance may be appealed and it can become quite costly.  It almost always damages the relationship between the two parties in dispute and it may attract public attention which may not be in the best interests of one or both of the parties.

Legal actions can be resolved by Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The advantages of ADR, in particular mediation, are that it is usually faster and less costly, people have a chance to tell their story as they see it and it is more flexible and responsive to the individual needs of the people involved.

In the Geoffrey Rush defamation case, Rush made an offer to settle his claim at an early stage in the litigation for an apology and $50,000 plus costs. Nationwide News did not respond, and Rush was eventually awarded $2.9 million plus costs.

ADR allows the parties to consider a resolution to a legal dispute that is not always about the money.

At Page Seager our objective to all litigation is to take a pragmatic approach to resolving disputes in less time, at less cost with less emotional turmoil and hostility.

If you have any queries or would like any further information, please contact:

Mat Wilkins
M: 0419 106 417
E: mwilkins@pageseager.com.au

Tom Pilkington
M: 0417 669 478
E: tpilkington@pageseager.com.au

Published: 17 October 2019

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