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When should you litigate? Or when shouldn’t you?

A legal dispute has arisen. You want to take a person to court. You want to litigate and win. Wait! Consider these 4 points before you make your decision whether to litigate or not. Be sure to get the advice of a legal professional when making this decision.

Should you litigate? Consider the money

Litigation is expensive. There are court costs, advocate and attorney costs and other costs. Even if you are successful in your case, you will never recover all of your costs. It is important to understand this and determine whether you have the financial capacity to bring the case. And just as litigation costs money for you, so it costs your opponent. Consider whether your opponent has the financial capacity to settle the claim if you are successful. An empty judgment helps you in no way. But even if your opponent can settle your claim, consider the possibility that they might not have the financial resources to settle the costs. In this case, you are not absolved from paying your lawyer.

Should you litigate? Consider the risk

Litigation inherently involves taking a risk. Even if you believe you have a case that can be easily won, there will always be some degree of uncertainty. You have to convince a magistrate or judge of your case. Your opponent will be doing the same. It is not possible to determine definitively who the judge will agree with. You will only know when the judgment is being read out. Consider how watertight your case is, but keep in mind the inherent risk.

Should you litigate? Consider your relationship with your opponent

Your legal dispute will involve a person with whom you have some form of relationship. Often, the relationship will be at arm’s length, but sometimes it could be closer. Litigation puts strain on the relationship you have with your opponent. A trial can even destroy relationships. Decide how important your relationship with the opponent or third party is. Can you afford to damage or end the relationship through litigating?

Should you litigate? Consider mediation

Mediation should always be seen as an option in any dispute. Mediation attorneys should be consulted. Is negotiation possible between you and your opponent? Consider whether you need greater creativity in crafting a solution. If time is of the essence in your dispute, litigation is a lengthier process while mediation is speedier. If you have limited finances, mediation is also a more affordable process than litigation. It provides appropriateness in contexts where there will be an ongoing relationship between the parties.

Need help?

If you require any assistance regarding a decision whether to litigate, or if you would like information on mediation, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@gunstons.com.

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