Making a litigation claim

As well as dealing with people'€™s personal issues such as Wills and buying property, solicitors can help to resolve disputes between two parties.

Disputes can be of almost any conceivable nature and can vary from disagreements within a family over child custody, for example, to wrangles between neighbours over land boundaries.

When making a claim against another party, whether or not the solicitor deems that legal action is worth taking will most likely hinge on the strength of your case, as well as the likelihood of actually winning compensation from the other side. The solicitor may also have reservations about proceeding with legal action if there appears to be little willingness to come to a compromise from either side.

Alternatives to litigation

Before taking the step of taking legal action, it is worth having a think about whether all other avenues for settling the dispute have already been exhausted. Avoiding court action can often save a great amount of tumult for everyone involved, and can stop relations embittering to an intolerable level.

If you are considering legal action it is unlikely that this is a viable option to you, but you should make sure that there is no possibility of resolving the dispute directly and (relatively) amicably with your opponent without having to get a third party involved.

As an alternative to using a solicitor and taking legal action, you could consider using a mediator — a neutral person with no vested interest in the matter who is there to facilitate discussion between the two parties and attempt to lead them to an agreement, which can be made legally-binding if you wish, through constructive discourse. Of course, it is entirely possible that the person playing the role of mediator could also be a solicitor.

Mediation is a particularly attractive option when resolving family law disputes, where it is favourable to prevent the relationship between the two parties rupturing any further in order to enable co-operation in the future.

Another option in some case is to lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman, which are independent bodies which act as arbiters on disputes regarding certain services. One important feature of the ombudsman service is that it is free of charge to use. The drawback is that you will most likely have little say on the decision, which you will have to accept once it is made.

There are many ombudsmen who deal with all different types of complaints and claims, most notably the financial services ombudsman, which tackles disputes between financial organisations and their customers and the housing ombudsman which acts on disputes involving landlords.

Employment tribunals function as an arbiter in disputes between employers and employees, and are usually resorted to when other methods such as arbitration and mediation have already failed.

A solicitor will be able to advise on which of these is the best course of action.