Civil Litigation

Civil Litigation

Many disputes can be resolved without the involvement of a legal practitioner in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). Those that have a monetary value of less than $25,000.00 may be best addressed in QCAT. You should go to www.qcat.qld.gov.au to explore your options.

 

For those disputes where you believe that damages are greater than $25,000.00 or more involved than those described in QCAT, then these should be directed to the courts for determination.

 

If you are seeking to sue someone (bring an action) for a dispute involving an issue where you believe that you are entitled to damages then upon filing a claim, you will be known as the “plaintiff”.

 

The amount for a plaintiff’s claim determines the appropriate court that it will be dealt in. If you are seeking costs of no more than $150,000.00 then the action will be undertaken in the Magistrates Court. The District Court jurisdiction looks after claims for more than $150,000.00 and less than $750,000.00. The Queensland Supreme Court will accept matters that fall outside of normal matters to be filed in either of the Magistrates or District Court or where the loss accrued is greater than $750,000.00.

Considerations

Prior to considering whether it is worth suing someone, it is important to understand that civil litigation proceedings may be expensive. An order to recover your legal fees may only be awarded where you are successful in an action. Where you are unsuccessful, an order will usually be granted to pay the defendant’s costs.

 

There are strict rules surrounding the obligations of parties and the court in civil litigation. These are known as the Queensland Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999. Rule 5 states that the purpose of the rules is to:

  • facilitate the just and expeditious resolution of the real issues at a minimum of expense;
  • the court must apply the rules with the objective of avoiding undue delay, expense, technicality and facilitating the purpose of the rules;
  • a party impliedly undertakes to the court and to the other parties to proceed in an expeditious way;
  • the court may impose appropriate sanctions if a party does not comply with the rules or order of the court.

Litigation

Some common areas for an action to commence in the courts involve:

  • the breaching of a simple contract where damages claimed do not consist or include a personal injury claim*;
  • non-payment of a debt; defamation;
  • loss on the basis of perceived negligence by a party and many others.

 

There are very strict time requirements to file a claim, for example in a claim for defamation, you only have up to 1 year after a representation is made, whereas in a breach of contract you may file up to 6 years after the incident.

 

*Please note that we do not undertake personal injury claims.

 

You are welcome to call us for a case appraisal to explore your circumstances.

Defamation

Comments made by one person about another which may be taken to be defamatory may not always be so. It is important to understand that defamation is an act of publishing (speaking or print) false information (imputations) which have the effect of lowering the reputation of a person or business in the public eye. This area of law has grown significantly in the last few years based on the rise of social media platforms. You should understand that there are defences to defamation under the Defamation Act 2005 (Qld). These include the defences of contextual truth; absolute privilege; publication of public documents; triviality and others.  

 

Each situation is unique and there is no simple answer or test as to what constitutes defamation. If you believe that you or your business is the victim of defamatory imputations then you have a number of choices as to what happens next. You can seek a public apology in order to avoid commencing litigation or you can commence proceedings. You should note that a party has a right to know if they have allegedly published anything that is concerning to you or your business. The issue of a “Concerns Notice” by you demanding the party to make amends or apologise publicly is recommended prior to the commencement of any formal proceedings. We can assist you with this.

 

We have extensive experience in representing victims of defamation. We have also represented those who have made imputations.

 

We have been published in the Queensland Law Reporter –  Sierocki & Anor v Klerck & Ors (No 2) [2015] QSC 92. This court matter in the Supreme Court of Queensland addressed the issue of defamation and the behaviour of parties.     

 

Give our team a call to organise a consultation if you believe that you may be the victim of defamation or you would like some further information about how defamation may have an impact on you or your business. 

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