Advantages and Disadvantages of Litigation: A Quick Guide

Disputes of any kind can be worrying and stressful for businesses if you’re going through a divorce or even a quarrel over a will.

We have years of experience in litigation, especially in South Wales. Sometimes it is often the last option for parties involved in any kind of disagreement.

But before you begin this often lengthy and potentially challenging way to resolve your differences in the UK, discover the advantages and disadvantages of litigation before you commit.

Engaging in litigation can mean protecting intellectual property, sets a precedent and can sometimes be less costly than other methods and also becomes public record. Disadvantages are that it can be a lengthy process, can damage relationships and be impersonal.

Sometimes it can be the only option left in solving a long-standing argument with another person or business.

But is litigation the best course of action for a satisfactory result?

This article shall explore some of the key positive and negative consequences of litigation in dispute resolution.

When might you consider litigation?

There can be a wealth of reasons why you might feel like litigation is the way to navigate through a potential issue you have and why you might be considering legal action.

  • Employee disputes over unfair dismissal
  • Discrimination or harassment in the workplace after sustaining an injury at work
  • Other types of personal injury
  • Business disputes
  • Disagreements with landlords
  • Problems with neighbours 
  • Complications of divorce
  • Contesting a will

What are some of the advantages of solving arguments through court action?

Advantages of litigation

Often there are other ways set out to help two parties work out their differences and even reduce the costs attached.

Although mediation and other forms of settling conflicts can be a worthwhile solution, litigation is sometimes the most effective way to resolve a dispute if it is clear there can be no alternative resolution.

Protecting Intellectual property

When protecting a company’s important intellectual property, which can be one of the most important assets in business, often litigation is the best solution.

It could be that using the power of the courts might be the only avenue to gain that protection and keep your reputation.

Litigation could help protect owners and creatives to enforce rights over inventions, music and writing.

This can be for areas such as copyright, patents, trademarks and trade secrets.

Sets a precedent

Although mediation can be a first step in settling quarrels in a business arena, this has the disadvantage of having no precedent set.

Although even though mediation is private, sometimes publications, legal press and court appeals can be public.

However, going through the courts in terms of litigation can provide lasting benefits in the form of precedent.

This means essentially that companies can benefit from other previous rulings for similar cases which can help reinforce their argument. It can help to measure comparable disputes rather than starting from scratch.

Cheaper costs

In some circumstances, surprisingly litigation can be a more cost-effective option, especially if it is a small-scale dispute that could be resolved quickly by the courts.

Although other forms of settling disputes such as ADR more generally provides a lower cost than more major disputes, sometimes litigation can bring a lower cost than you might expect.

ADR is an abbreviation for Alternative Dispute Resolution and can include arbitration and mediation.

One of the main reasons litigation is comparable in terms of other forms of ADR is that often there are similar cost implications, such as hiring a  solicitor, venue and other fees.

The advantage with litigation is that after heading up the costs, there will be a legally binding resolution and the fact that often disputes using ADR can end up eventually in court.

Public record

Using ADR to conclude disputes are confidential might seem like a better way to forward some disagreements.

As litigation is pursued through the courts, in other cases a public record of the dispute might be advantageous.

When taking legal action the judgment reached will be on public record. This can help to limit damage and also to stop any rumours or inaccurate information leaking from the dispute.  This could reduce social media speculation and anywhere reputation is paramount.

Another advantage of setting the record straight legally through the courts is that it sends out a clear message that you and your business are not to be toyed with. This will result in discouraging any other parties from future discourse.

Disadvantages of litigation

Generally, litigation can be a difficult and emotionally draining experience where you will never be certain of an outcome until decided by a judge.

For this reason, alternative methods of solving disputes such as mediation and arbitration is becoming increasingly popular. There is also the cost of litigation.  Once you start, you are never sure how the case will turn which, if it becomes more complicated, could bring with it unforeseen costs.

Court backlog

Due to the large number of cases waiting to be considered in U.K. courts, there is often a huge backlog waiting to be given a court date.

Even with a date set for your hearing, it could be several months spent until your case gets resolved.

This can often mean extra expense not to mention the emotional stress of waiting for a date for the lawsuit.

Our UK court system is also often plagued with rescheduling and postponements which can add to costs and other stress factors. Often you could also be waiting for another party to schedule a date which can cause lengthy proceedings.

In some cases, you may reach a resolution more quickly, and in a less bureaucratic way by using forms of ADR such as arbitration and mediation.

Damaging for relationships        

Predictably, pursuing a remedy through the U.K. court system can be damaging to any relationship set between the two parties involved.

After the court hearing and the final outcome, it can often be that the trial process may irrevocably cause long-standing rifts between those involved.

Litigation can be a challenging way for professional and personal relationships to survive the impact of a court appearance where judgment has been passed.

Can be time consuming

Litigation generally has a lengthy time frame which to resolve. Sometimes it can take up to several years for a resolution and judgment to be passed. This is especially true in more complex cases.

This can mean both parties involved in U.K. legal proceedings may have to wait significantly until the case has been concluded.

Sometimes arbitration or mediation can be a better course of action if a matter requires or would benefit from a swifter decision to resolve the matter.

Other methods of reaching a reasonable outcome for both parties might be worth considering.

Litigation is impersonal

It’s usually not possible to use opportunities for communication by building rapports if you decide to use litigation as a means by which to resolve a dispute.

This can be an important method of making sure your side of the story is fully understood and gives the means for persuasion to be delivered in a more personal and empathetic way.

Usually, court hearings will not have the benefit to build any kind of rapport during the litigation process.

In general, judges will merely have the important key facts of a case. So in some cases, make sure you think carefully before proceeding with litigation.

Resolving a dispute before it goes as far as a trial can be advantageous in some cases so make sure you seek professional guidance from experienced solicitors before you begin the process.

And finally…

Legal action is often the only course of action to resolve a difficult and complex set of circumstances including in commercial litigation.

Although ultimately you may be able to feel that Justice has been done, your rights have been satisfactorily reestablished, or even receiving a sum of money as compensation, litigation can be draining emotionally and physically.

Contact our specialist team of civil litigation solicitors to find out how we can help you if you are in the Cardiff or Barry area of Wales.

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