What is the difference between negotiation and litigation?

What is the difference between negotiation and litigation?

When filing a legal action, you may be hesitant to pay for a lawyer if you believe the action may be tried in court. It is a lot of time and money to try a case, and you may think the loss might outweigh the reward. If this is the case, your lawyer will offer advice on how they can proceed and the likelihood the case will settle prior to court. However, most cases are not often tried in court. Cases are frequently resolved during the negotiation stage where the parties would agree to the terms of each argument and settle.

What are negotiations?

Negotiations are a private exchange of arguments between parties and their legal representation to try and resolve a dispute. The arguments will be presented and offers to settle will be exchanged with each party’s preferred settlement terms. Offers to settle cannot be used as evidence in court, as they are “without prejudice”. As stated previously, negotiations are strictly confidential and the letters between parties cannot be used in the public litigation process.

When parties decide to negotiate, they can resolve the matter much faster than trying it in court, which is a much lengthier process. Because negotiations are quicker, it could greatly reduce the cost of legal fees. Further, clients are much more involved in the negotiation process. They discuss the offer to settle with their lawyer and have more control over accepting an offer they think is reasonable. When a matter is tried in court, the damages are decided by what a judge believes is fair.

The disadvantage to settling a matter during the negotiation stage is that the parties must find a middle ground. Sometimes the plaintiff won’t be satisfied with a settlement because they may believe they deserve more money, or they may be frustrated that the matter must remain completely confidential. For example, a plaintiff who has been harassed at the workplace may not want the harassment charges to remain strictly private.

What is litigation?

Litigation is a public proceeding where a matter is resolved in a court of law before a judge. The plaintiff would have commenced a legal action by serving the defendant with an issued Statement of Claim that outlines the reasons why the claim was filed, and the compensation they believe is reasonable to resolve the matter. The parties will begin negotiating, and if there is no agreeable settlement offer, the matter will be litigated in court. Bringing an action to court is necessary when the two parties couldn’t agree on a settlement offer and require a judge to determine a reasonable resolution.

If you are deciding whether to commence a legal action, KCY at LAW can provide advice on whether to pursue a claim and explain what legal action can be taken. Please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.