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Processes of the Courts
Case preparation reviewed by Courts
Cases are reviewed constantly by Courts who want the problem resolved or listed for hearing and out of their case list as quickly as possible. Murphy Lyons Lawyers raises these matters to assist you in the understanding that we are progressing your matter as efficiently as possible, in your interests, within the structure of the applicable system of law.
Courts manage every case in its lists. The Courts consider their time very precious and valuable, and are acutely aware that other litigants are at the end of the queue waiting for their case to percolate to the top of the hearing list. Parties must comply with numerous directions from the Court by a certain dates. Matters are continuously reviewed by the Courts and further tasks and time limits are imposed by the Courts on their parties and their lawyers, to ready the case for hearing.
The Court wants to minimise costs to both parties and can order “Court Appointed Experts” so that there are not a multitude of experts expressing different views. The Court can order certain evidence be taken before an Arbitrator saving the Court an enormous amount of time. Building cases fit particularly into this category or case where there are overseas witnesses.
Informal Settlement Conferences
The Court always welcomes Informal Settlement Conferences between the parties.
Formal Settlement Conferences
More frequently, Courts will not list a case for hearing unless the parties have attended a Formal Conference to try and settle a matter. Again, the principle is time, speed and costs, thus clients save clients on Legal Costs.
Formal offers of settlement
Another strategy of speeding up the resolution of a matter is the Formal Offers of Settlement. For instance say one party may offers to pay the other party $100,000 plus cost, and that offer is rejected. The party who rejected the offer obtains a Judgment of only $80,000. The Court may order that party, to pay the other parties Legal Costs on an Indemnity basis from the date of the offer, notwithstanding they obtained a Judgment of $80,000.
The reason why the courts treat this savagely is bases on the following philosophy.
- In the past too many litigants would simply reject all overtures of settlement and would have a free spin of the chocolate wheel;
- Often litigants insisted that they wanted to hear it from the lips of the Judge;
The Courts and Judges have reacted, declaring (sic) ”this offer of settlement should have been accepted. In failing to accept this offer of settlement, you have take up the Court’s valuable time for a matter which should not have been in the Courts list, and depriving other genuine litigants of the Courts valuable time”. This has been an effective intitiative to save all litigants time and money.