Civil litigation

Using the courts to protect and enforce legal rights and obligations.

From our files

Initial consultation

$198 / 385

The starting point is to talk to us. For a general discussion, book a 30 minute consultation. If you definitely want to commence proceedings (or you have already commenced proceedings), book a 60 minute consultation.

At your consultation we will discuss:

  • The possible causes of action;
  • Prospects of a counter-claim;
  • Alternative avenues for resolution;
  • Will the respondent be able to pay?
  • How much will it cost?

Initial consultation

$198 / 385

For Magistrates Court matters, book a 30 minute consultation. For District or Supreme Court matters, book a 60 minute consultation.

At your consultation we will discuss:

  • the claimant's causes of action;
  • any defence or counterclaim you may have;
  • next steps and alternative avenues for resolution;
  • indicative costs going forward.

Assessment

The outcome of most court cases turns more on the facts than on legal principles. So before commencing proceedings it’s important to assess the strengths of your case and the prospects of success. This can be time-consuming, but properly undertaken will save money and possible embarrassment in the long term.

We will:

  • catalogue and review relevant written material (contracts, correspondence, memoranda etc);
  • take from you a statement of your evidence cross-referenced to the documents;
  • consider the applicable legal principles;
  • deliver to you a written or verbal suggested strategy (or alternative strategies) based on what we learn;
  • make you a written offer (quote) for the further services that we expect that you will require.

Because we have no way of accurately calculating the time involved in advance. We charge for assessments on a timed basis. At your initial consultation, we will give you some indication of the approximate cost.

Defence

A defendant served with a writ (application, summons or claim) issued by a court, must file a notice of intention to defend the claim in the issuing court within the prescribed time.

If the writ is endorsed with a statement of claim the defendant must also file a defence within strict time limits (usually 10-14 days). The defence is a detailed response to the statement of claim.

If the defendant fails to comply with these deadlines the claimant is entitled to a judgment by default (default judgment).

In appropriate cases it is possible to apply to the court to set aside a default judgment – but this process involves additional expense.

The outcome of most court cases turns more on the facts than on legal principles. So before defending proceedings it’s important to assess the strengths of your case and the prospects of success before settling your defence. This can be time-consuming, but properly undertaken will save money and possible embarrassment in the long term.

Even if you wish to attempt a negotiated or mediated resolution of the dispute, it’s important to first complete this process.

We will:

  • immediately file your notice of intention to defend the proceedings;
  • negotiate or apply to the court for any extension of time that may be required to complete your defence;
  • catalogue and review relevant written material (contracts, correspondence, memoranda etc);
  • take from you a statement of your evidence cross-referenced to the documents;
  • consider the applicable legal principles;
  • draft your defence on the basis of our analysis of the facts and the applicable law;
  • deliver to you a written or verbal suggested strategy (or alternative strategies) based on what we learn;
  • make you a written offer (quote) for the further services that we expect that you will require.

Because we have no way of accurately calculating the time involved in advance we charge for assessments on a timed basis. At your initial consultation, we will give you some indication of the approximate cost.

Mediation and negotiation

Most matters are resolved before trial, either at court-convened mediations or by negotiation. Subject to your instructions we will always explore the prospects of a mediated or negotiated settlement.

Points to consider:

  • Negotiations are best conducted with a full appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
  • Most litigation is not clear-cut – if so it’s usually wise to consider a compromise. On the other hand if the outcome is not in doubt, you should not feel obliged to discount your claim.
  • Negotiate from a position of strength, and follow through with any threatened action.
  • Don’t over-invest in negotiations. Your opponent may attempt to maximise a weak position by engaging you in protracted discussions in the hope that you will simply give in to save time.
  • Sometimes it's productive for you to communicate directly with your opponent (but not his lawyer). We strongly recommend that you first discuss with us proposed communications.
  • Often a good compromise occurs when neither party is satisfied with the outcome.

Litigation

Please refer to The litigation process for a summary of the procedures. We will bill you progressively for the expected stages of the litigation.

Most litigation (about 95% in the Supreme Court of WA) is resolved before trial. If your matter settles, we will not charge you for stages of work that we have not actually commenced.

Jeremy Birman

Jeremy Birman

9220 4439

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