Articles and legal news from the Atkinson Vinden Team.

Going To Court | The Powers Of The Court


When disputing parties have exhausted all avenues to negotiate a resolution, the only options are walking away, or going to court. Many choose to walk away. But if you go to court? What powers does the court have to change the situation? Rod Berry, head of AV’s disputes practice, explains some of the remarkable powers courts have to revolutionise an otherwise impossible situation.

Injunction This power forces a party either to do something (e.g. perform their obligations under a contract, issue a public apology), or to stop doing something (e.g. constructions works, making excessive noise, bullying).
Award Damages If the other party owed you a duty of care, but they failed in that and you suffered loss as a result, the court has the power to award you damages (compensation) to put you back on the position you would have been in had their breach not occurred. This same principle may also apply if the other party breaches a contract with you.
Discovery Not sure what the facts are, but you have strong reason to believe that you may have a case against another party? The court can order the other party to produce the records, or have people attend court to give oral evidence, to establish whether you have a case. The court can also order discovery as part of existing proceedings if the other party holds evidence directly relevant to the issues in dispute.
Declaration If the parties to a dispute are not sure what their legal obligations are in light of specific circumstances, the court has the power to declare what they should do.
Civil Search Order Do you have strong reasons to believe that another party has engaged in serious misconduct, but want to have the opportunity to seize the evidence by surprise to avoid the other party from destroying or hiding that evidence? The court has the power to authorise a civil search, like a raid, on another’s premises without prior notice to that party.
Consent Orders Have you and the other party negotiated an agreement, but you want to ensure they don’t back out? The court will often agree to make consent orders, giving finality and absolute enforceability to the agreement.
Mediation Sometimes a court will agree to a request by one party, ordering the other party to participate in a mediation to try to resolve the dispute.
Order to Produce


Courts routinely order parties to produce documents, at risk of contempt orders if they do not comply.
Order to Appear Courts can order witnesses to attend court, and if they don’t come to court, order their arrest until the witness co-operates.
Parenting Orders Need help with gaining access to your children? The court can make orders granting you this.
Freezing Order Worried that the other party is going to move their wealth offshore to prevent your efforts to get paid? The court can grant you a freezing order, which stops the other person from dealing with any of the assets listed in the order, such as bank accounts, shares, and real estate.

Protecting your reputation starts with simplifying the complex. This handy checklist should quickly point you in the right direction and help you understand whether you have a case, and where to start to secure the best possible outocme.