When reading any articles or speaking with lawyers, you will notice that almost everyone agrees settling a dispute out of court is far better than going to trial. After all, going to court can be expensive, time-consuming and stressful, with no guarantee that you will receive anything.
Although mediation and settlement should always be attempted, the simple fact is that there are some rare instances where it’s better to go to court.
When you may be impacted long term
In cases where you have been impacted in a way that will affect you mentally, physically or emotionally in the long-term, or if your situation has the potential to deteriorate, settling may not be your best option.
Most contracts will include a disclaimer which states that by agreeing to the settlement, you waive your rights to pursue any legal action, file subsequent claims, or appeal to matter. So, it’s important to realise that when you settle out of court, you are giving up your rights to any further claims.
When you require full disclosure
Mediations are aimed at placating both parties and bringing them to a mutually beneficial solution. However, parties are in no way legally obligated to disclose any information and may choose to hide certain facts to their own benefit.
This may be preferred in instances where you require full disclosure, such as wills and estates. Under Australian Wills and Estate law, the executor of an estate is not obliged to release all information regarding the estate before mediation. Even after mediation, you may be unhappy with the outcome, or not be satisfied that you have full access to the facts, in which case preparing for court may be a better course.
When the issue needs public awareness
There are some instances where it is important that the public be made aware of your case, and the defendant is held accountable. Punitive damages are rarely awarded in settlements, so there is no incentive for the defendant to change their behaviour. This can be seen in the case of class action lawsuits; for example, a group of parents may choose to take a baby formula company to court rather than settling, because they also want the company to remove the product from purchase.
When you require an impartial decision
If you feel like you have been wronged by another party, choosing to go to court can provide you with the confidence that you are receiving a fair judgement from an impartial party. In cases where the other person is acting irrationally or emotionally, going to court can sometimes be your only option.
A good example includes cases involving children and custody, where it is very common for parties to become emotional and act irrationally and going to court may be necessary to ensure what is best for your children.
Although most lawyers will always advise settling over going to court, here at AV Lawyers, we realise that every case is different. Get in touch with our team today to arrange a free consultation, and we’ll explain your different outcomes and help you choose the best way to proceed with your case.