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We look after YOU

If you have a disagreement with somebody, then you could just live with it. Otherwise you have to either resolve it with them or take it to court.

Judges do not like people taking disputes to court if they have not first tried to resolve it directly. So do not be in too much of a rush to go to court unless it is a real emergency.

Resolving things directly with the person who disagrees is not always easy of course. Sometimes you cannot resolve the problem without their co-operation. For example if the disagreement is with a neighbour about where your boundary is, you might need to see their deeds, and they might prefer not to show you them, especially if they support your case.

But at least ask them, and do what you can to resolve as much as you can of your disagreement directly. Then even if you cannot agree completely in the end you will not be criticised for going to court too quickly.

Then if and when you get to court, continue to be willing to work together with your opponent to reach an agreed solution. That way even if you fail and the court has to decide the dispute, you cannot be criticised. You have made the effort.

Lawyers have what we call the 'overriding objective', which might be summarised in plain English as dealing with disputes fairly, not being too bothered abut technicalities, and keeping things in proportion.

It is very tempting when involved in a dispute to go in with all guns blazing. But that does not tend to be very constructive. If you are in the right you should have faith in the system, work it right as described here and it will probably give you the right result in the end.

If you do let your temper get the better of you then the danger is that the court (for example) might form the suspicion that you have something to hide. After all people who do not like the truth do tend sometimes to try to blow up smokescreens. So if you are in the right let the other side do that if they want to. You stay focused on getting a reasonable resolution, either by judgement or negotiated settlement if the opportunity arises.

Judges have a habit of penalising people who do not take this approach. For example, even if you win the case you might get less for your costs if the judge thinks you have not been playing as you should. In an extreme case you might get no costs at all, or even be ordered to pay them.