Finding yourself in a legal dispute or receiving a legal letter of demand can be extremely overwhelming, resulting in fight, flight, or freeze instincts taking over a clear mind. While a legal dispute can be extremely emotional and mentally draining, rather than succumbing to these instincts, there are a few simple steps that can help you start taking control over your circumstances and move forward to resolve the dispute.
Here are the necessary steps we recommend you take, even if you end up engaging a lawyer to help you with your case:
1. Gather information
Proverbs 18:17 says, “There are two sides to every story. The first one to speak sounds true until you hear the other side and they set the record straight.”
The first step is to put your side of the story together:
- Gather any emails, contracts, documents, brochures, text messages you may have about the matter, and put them in chronological order.
- Prepare a chronology of all the important events to get a good grasp of the factual background;
- Make a list of all the people who were involved in the matter, who could eventually be witnesses for the case.
2. Identify the allegations made against you, or if you were an innocent party, identify your grievance
If you were accused of having done something wrong, consider whether the allegations made against you are clear. If it is not clear, ask the other person to state in writing (an email will do), what they are actually accusing you of. This is important because until the other person can define what was wrong, it will be very difficult for you to reflect and consider whether they were right or wrong. If you are the victim of someone else’s actions, you should try and articulate as best as you can, what you think your opponent has done, or not done that has caused you harm. You should also try and work out what is the harm you have suffered, for instance, did you make a financial loss? Did you miss out on an opportunity?
3. The right heart posture
Approach the matter with a heart posture that is ready to engage in early negotiation with the other side to try and resolve the dispute. In reality, solving the dispute as soon as possible would be the best outcome for all involved.
There should be an aim to bring understanding to the opposite party and restore fractured relationships. In Western Australia, more than 80% of disputes that go to Court settle and do not proceed to trial. The statistics are even more impressive with the Supreme Court of WA, where only 2% of civil matters go to trial.
Even if you feel you are 100% in the right, keep communication factual and civil and avoid using inflammatory and aggressive language.
Proverbs 15:1 says, “a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”.
We highly recommend keeping that in mind when approaching any dispute and if you are looking for any further information or assistance, please contact us at M 6:8 Legal.