Commercial & Civil Litigation

Frequently Asked Questions

When a matter can’t be resolved by negotiation, you need to be properly advised and fully prepared for the commencement of formal legal proceedings, to maximize your prospects of success. Hutchinson Legal can advise you on the evidence you will need to establish your claim and prepare the necessary documents to commence court action. Our team is also able to advise you on the various stages of the litigation process and continue to seek resolution of the matter along the way.

We have experience in a wide range of litigation matters including commercial and contractual disputes, finance agreements, insurance claims, real property disputes, residential and retail lease disputes, competition and trade practices disputes, challenging a will, consumer disputes, vehicle and property damage claims and intellectual property disputes.

How can I resolve a dispute?

Escalating disputes to litigation carries business risks and costs. By using a solicitor, it is often the case that a dispute can be resolved quickly and efficiently without significant costs being incurred. If the dispute cannot be resolved, your solicitor can commence court proceedings to have the dispute determined by the Court.

What constitutes a breach of contract?

One party’s failure to fulfil any of its contractual obligations is known as a breach of the contract. Depending on the specifics, a breach can occur when a party fails to perform on time, does not perform in accordance with the terms of the agreement, or does not perform at all.

Are there alternatives to litigation?

There are a number of legal methods and procedures available. These alternatives generally expedite the resolution of disputes without the need for initiating or continuing the formal process of litigation. These alternatives are broadly referred to as alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”), which avoids the expense and delay of full litigation process.

What should I do if I am being sued?

When you are served with a complaint or writ, you must immediately seek legal advice. Please make a note of the time and date of service, as you normally only have 28 days to file a Defence. If you fail to respond, a default judgment for the amount of money named in a complaint may be entered. Once such a judgment is entered, it is very difficult to get it modified or reversed. This may put you in a disadvantaged position.

Why is it important to hire a lawyer for litigation?

Commercial litigation is a specialised area of practice.

There are many reasons why you should hire a commercial litigation lawyer, being the following:

a) Protection of business interests.

b) Specialisation of focus.

c) Expertise in commercial litigation.

Can I appeal the results of my case?

If you disagree with a court’s decision or think your penalty is too harsh, you may be able to appeal to a higher court. However, a higher court could reject your appeal and give you an even harsher penalty. Get legal advice before deciding to appeal a decision.

Who pays the expenses of litigation?

As a general rule, if a party proceeds to issue court proceedings against another party and obtains a court judgment at the Magistrates Court, County Court or the Supreme Court of Victoria, then the unsuccessful party will pay for the successful party’s legal costs on a standard basis.

How long will court proceedings take?

Once the plaintiff initiates court proceedings against the defendant(s) by filing and serving the statement of claim, it usually takes at least one year to get to the trial or final hearing. If the court proceedings involve significant interlocutory steps, then it might even take two to three years in order to get the trial.

Questions? Ask our Disputes & Litigation team.

Phillip Liberatore
Senior Lawyer
Disputes & Litigation
Rod Veith
Disputes & Litigation
03 9870 9870