Queensland Law Society

Neighbour and local disputes

There are many ways a lawyer can help you resolve disputes that don’t involve going to court (unless, of course, you want to).


What kind of lawyer?

Disputes about money, products, or services

For most legal issues that arise in disputes about money, products, or services, you will need a lawyer who works in civil litigation law—a litigation lawyer.

Top tip 1: ‘Litigation’ is another word for suing someone. A trusted general practitioner who works predominately in litigation can help you to sue someone for all minor disputes, including debt recovery.

Top tip 2: There is another type of litigation lawyer known as a commercial litigation lawyer. They also deal in resolving disputes and debt recovery. They mainly work with large, commercial clients and transactions. You can find a commercial litigation accredited specialist. Just look for the symbol next to their name.

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When to get litigation advice

No matter what kind of dispute you find yourself in, it is always helpful to get legal advice on your rights and entitlements, as well as your options to resolve it.

Here are some tips and tricks for resolving disputes—both in and out of court. 

Minor disputes up to $25,000

Calling a $25,000 dispute ’minor’ may seem like a misnomer because it’s actually a large sum of money! But when you think about the time, cost, and resources that go into having a dispute heard in court, it starts to seem like a minor amount of money in comparison.

If you are not inclined to take a minor civil dispute through the court, you might consider applying to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to have it resolved. It’s quick, relatively informal, and a lot cheaper than going to court.

QCAT can help you resolve disputes over debts, unsatisfactory products or services, disputes between neighbours over fences or trees, and disputes between landlords and tenants over bond refunds—as long as the value of the dispute doesn’t exceed $25,000.

Top tip 3: While QCAT can help you resolve a dispute, it can’t give you legal advice. If you want legal advice about your particular circumstances, rights, and entitlements, speak to a civil litigation lawyer today.

Mediation

If you want to maintain control over how your dispute is resolved, mediation might be right for you.

Mediation is an opportunity to work through the issues between you and the other party—guided by an experienced dispute resolution practitioner (that is, a mediator).

The process is often incredibly effective, low-cost, and quick. Mediation services are offered by QCAT, Dispute Resolution Centres, private mediation firms, and lawyers who have had mediation training. You can find an approved mediator here.

But what if you want to go to court?

If you still want your day in court—whether your dispute is worth less than $25,000 or much more—you absolutely can. You should get legal advice from a civil litigation lawyer first.

Legal advice can help you understand whether or not you have a strong case; what your rights, obligations, and entitlements under the law are; and what the likely outcome of your claim might be. A lawyer will ensure your case presents as strongly as possible, assist you with every step of the court application process, and handle all the paperwork (including serving the other party to your dispute).

If you want to go to court, set yourself up for success. Speak to a civil litigation lawyer first.


How to get started

This is just a brief glimpse into a vast area of law. For advice on litigation law issues, click below to find a litigation lawyer.

 

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