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Some low-value legal disputes, where there is little at stake financially are usually best resolved without involving lawyers. The legal costs would simply outweigh any financial benefit you might gain. But higher value disputes involving you or your family are often complex and cannot be resolved without a form of legal process. When this need arises, you can call on our dispute resolution lawyers to provide strategic and highly cost-effective advice.

Drawing on the huge depth of skills and experience of our colleagues across DMH Stallard, we regularly act for individuals, business owners and others who face personal legal challenges, including personal injury, clinical negligence, family disputes/divorce, planning and property disputes and contentious probate including reputation management issues, disputes around personal property and cross-border disputes.

Frequently asked questions

Will my legal dispute end up in court?

The potential cost consequences for you and the risks of bringing your claim the whole way to court are powerful incentives to try to reach an agreement with the other side. We work hard to do this where possible and will always give you a realistic assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. This means you can make an informed decision about how far you wish to pursue or defend a civil litigation case. Ultimately, if the other side unreasonably refuses to negotiate and if your case has real merit, you may have no option but to ask a judge to rule on the issues by bringing court proceedings.

How long will it take to resolve my case?

Each case is different. A strongly worded letter from us often yields the desired result for our clients. In other cases, we look to negotiate an acceptable outcome for you so that you do not have to issue or defend legal proceedings.  The choice of going to court will be discussed with you so that you can consider such factors as the length of time it takes to go to trial, the approach of the other side, the complexity of the issues and the value of the claim (which will dictate the appropriate court to hear the issues).

Civil litigation cases can take anything from three months to more than a year to reach a conclusion. That said, the courts increasingly encourage parties to attempt to resolve differences ahead of a final hearing and judges can even penalise parties that do not negotiate reasonably. There are also strict timetables to observe once proceedings are underway so that cases run as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.

Can I claim my legal costs if I win?

The risk of facing a large legal bill at the end of your case is a key factor in determining how to approach your case. During litigation you are expected to bear your own costs, unless we act for you under some form of funding agreement or you have insurance (for example under a household policy) that will meet your costs. When the case is concluded the court will decide who pays what costs. Generally, an order will be made to the effect that the loser pays the majority of the costs incurred by the winner. But in most cases the order for costs will not cover all the winner’s expenses, so you should always bear in mind that even if you win your case you may still have to meet certain legal costs. At the same time, courts can make more generous orders in favour of one side where the other has behaved unreasonably in its conduct of the case. We can advise you how to minimise your exposure to a costs order by for example, making offers to settle the case.

What are the alternatives to litigation?

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a common way to resolve disputes and avoid court. At DMH Stallard we have an experienced pool of solicitors who regularly engage in all forms of ADR on behalf of individuals. ADR can be appropriate in even the most complex, high value personal legal disputes. It includes:

  • Conciliation
  • Mediation
  • Early Neutral Evaluation
  • Adjudication
  • Arbitration
  • Expert Determination

In some areas of dispute, you can approach regulators and ombudsmen to deal with the issues at hand.

Increasingly our private clients are attracted to ADR. In many cases it’s a quicker, more affordable way of dealing with disputes. ADR is also usually a confidential process so if you are concerned about damage to your personal or commercial reputation it may be preferable to a series of public court hearings. In addition, many business clients opt for ADR. They do so to find pragmatic solutions to disputes with long term business partners when they may want to maintain a professional relationship once the dispute has been resolved.

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Rhodri James
Tim Ashdown
Matt Akers
Frank Bouette
James Colvin
Keith Pearlman
Lucie Thomas

Recent work

Successfully resolved a multi-million pound dispute for a family

We defended our client, a globally based family with international assets in three different jurisdictions. We negotiated an excellent and successful outcome for the family.

Protecting an individual against personal harassment

We protected a director in respect of serious personal harassment by a customer of his company who was disgruntled with the services provided by the company.

Defended the reputation of a high-profile sports personality

We regularly act for a well-known sporting champion, defending him against various threats to his public reputation.

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