Going to Court: Maximising Your Chances, Minimising The Risks
By John Vizzone
Most people visit a lawyer with the goal of winning a legal battle.
Of course we all want to win. The legal justice system is no different.
But what if you don’t win?
Many people do not realise the complex and often significant ramifications of losing a protracted legal battle.
There are many exceptions but generally in the Australian and New South Wales legal systems, the losers in a court battle pay a portion of the costs of the winning party. The effect of this is that a unfavourable court verdict can have far reaching consequences for a party.
When a cost order is made against a party, that cost order can be enforced against them. This means that if payment is not made, the party with the benefit of the cost order can commence bankruptcy proceedings, seize your property or even garnishee your wages.
For this reason it is important that you follow these tips to minimise the risks of going to Court:
- Make sure you have a good legal team on your side
All lawyers can promise you the world. You want one that will provide a mixture of providing well founded realistic advice yet one that will fight hard for you. Also ensure that your Solicitor is briefing a barrister that also fits this profile. Unfortunately some law firms may see your matter as a money maker rather than seeking an appropriate outcome for you.
2. Attempt to resolve your matter early
A large number of cases settle before the matter is determined by the Court. You should attempt to resolve the matter early so that legal costs do not become an impediment to the parties having a satisfactory settlement. The other benefit of settling the matter is that you have control of the outcome. You are not placing yourself at risk of having a judge find against you and issuing a big costs order against you.
3. Work with your lawyer not against them
From experience the matters that often have the most success is when there is a good relationship between the lawyers and the client. Like a sporting team, a team that works together is more likely to succeed. Sort out any issues you may have with your lawyer as soon as possible and don’t let issues bubble until it is too close to a hearing. When you work with your lawyer rather than against them they spend more time on winning your case rather than trying to win you.
John Vizzone is a Partner of Vizzone Ruggero Twigg Lawyers. John Vizzone appears in Court disputes involving all forms of litigation, commercial law, employment law and much more. John also practices criminal law. If you wish to make an appointment with him please call our Mascot office on 02 9667 1271 or our Sydney CBD office on 02 9264 7244.