Litigation refers to the conduct of a dispute that is now before a Court or a Tribunal. In essence, whilst two parties might be involved in a dispute concerning a particular matter, that dispute will not be considered to have entered litigation until some form of legal proceedings have been commenced by one party or another.
Once a litigation has started, the dispute is generally headed towards a trial or hearing before a decision maker, a tribunal member, Magistrate or Judge. Of course, during the course of a litigation it is possible for the two parties to agree upon terms to end the dispute.
Litigation is an involved legal process that usually starts with the filing of a claim or application by one party with a Tribunal or Court, which is then given to the other party. The other party will have an opportunity to defend themselves or respond (and counterclaim). The parties will then work towards begin the matter before a decision maker by exchanging all documents relevant to the dispute through an exercise of disclosure before presented that evidence before the decision maker to determine the dispute independently.
Whilst that might sound like a simple process, it is not, you must ensure that you have a recognised cause of action and admissible evidence to prove it, you must ensure you comply with the rules of civil procedure and meet each deadline strictly, you must ensure your evidence is presented correctly and in the correct form.
Litigation can be a stressful process, time consuming and costly and just because you think you have a claim, does not mean that you can prove it in court. You need to ensure you embark on any litigation with proper and sound legal advice and understanding of your claim, the likelihood of success and the risks involved.
If you think you have a legal claim against another then please contact us and we will be able to assist with your decision making and the process of litigation.
If you have been given (been served) with a claim or application and need to to file a defence or respond, act NOW and call us as strict time limits apply.
QCAT - Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal
QCAT was setup to deal with an array of legal disputes that are largely administrative, or involve disputes about monies below the value of $25,000, primarily it deals with issues relating to :-
- Building Disputes
- Dividing Fences
- Guardianship and Administration
- Liquor Licences
- Property Agents and Motor Dealers
- Retirement Villages
- Small Claims
QCAT is aimed at being user friendly and not only encourages but mandates that the disputing parties represent themselves within the legal dispute. That does not mean that you cannot seek legal advice or retain a lawyer to help you with your legal claim, but means that you are unlikely to be able to recover any incurred legal professional costs from the other party, even if you are successful.
There are occasions, in special circumstances, that QCAT will allow a party to be legally represented for a particular dispute.
The State of Queensland's legal system comprises of the Magistrates, District and Supreme Court. A legal dispute will need to be commenced within the correct court that holds jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is unfettered and it can hear any and all disputes that arise. However, the Magistrates and District courts have jurisdiction to hear most disputes if the monetary value is within each respective courts jurisdiction.
Unlike QCAT, the Queensland Courts allow legal representation for a party and it is usual that the successful party in any litigation will be awarded its legal costs incurred during the legal proceedings (or at least a portion of those legal costs)
Federal Courts of Australia
The Federal legal system comprises the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Federal Court of Australia. There is also an Administrative Appeals Tribunal which mainly deals with appeals of decisions taken by federal government departments. The main reasons parties use the federal system is because the particular dispute that has arisen comes within the jurisdiction of federal law, in areas such as bankruptcy, insolvency, intellectual property.