In brief - Be helpful, cooperate and communicate with your
Your lawyer will be able to assist you as effectively as
possible if you provide clear instructions, make the necessary
documents available and listen carefully to the lawyer's
Why do businesses get sued by their customers?
One of the harsh realities of the business world is that from
time to time, situations arise in which a business is sued by a
client or customer. Maybe a faulty product was sold, or negligent
advice given, or there was a failure by the business to abide by
the terms of a contract.
More than likely, if your business is sued, you will require the
assistance of a lawyer. Here are five tips on how best to assist
your lawyers in defending a claim that has been made against your
Provide clear instructions on what
The first place to start is by telling your lawyer all of the
circumstances that gave rise to your business being sued in the
first place, as best you can remember them.
It may also be necessary for some of your staff members (those
who are able to shed light on the relevant circumstances) also to
meet with your lawyer so that he or she can take their
This will enable your lawyer to ensure they are on top of all of
the facts early and will be better placed to help you assess the
strength of the other party's claim against you.
Make available whatever documents your lawyer
In order to get a clear picture of what has happened and whether
your business faces any concerns regarding liability, your lawyer
will need copies of all documents you have that relate to exactly
what happened. The best policy is to give your lawyer more
information, rather than less.
In addition, wherever possible, you should take copies of
whatever documents you make available to your lawyer. This will
assist you and mean that you do not need to keep coming back to
your lawyer's office to look at the documents if he or she has
any further questions about them.
Don't be afraid to ask your lawyer
It is very likely that you will have questions about what will
happen now that your business is being sued. What is involved in
preparing a defence? What sort of time commitment will you and your
employees be required to make? Will there be a court hearing that
you (or others in the business) will need to attend to give
evidence? Or will there be a mediation? How long will the mediation
run for? What is the procedure at a mediation?
Your lawyer should be able to provide some answers to your
questions and explain what your role in the process will need to
Be prepared and be flexible
Unfortunately, litigation is costly. There are lawyers' fees
to pay (unless, for example, you have an insurance policy under
which the insurance company may pay your legal bills), as well as
the cost to the business of making your own staff and resources
available to your lawyer when required. This may include making
employees available to your lawyer to take their witness
statements, or making yourself available to attend a mediation.
Litigation is also time consuming, in that you or your employees
may be required to attend a mediation with your lawyer, or to help
your lawyer prepare a defence, or to provide further
In addition, you may have to wait for the other side to make a
move before you can respond.
It pays, then, to be prepared and to be flexible.
Be helpful and cooperative with your
Litigation is often an uncertain and stressful time for
businesses, so it makes good sense to take whatever steps you can
to minimise the stress and uncertainty. One step to take is to be
as helpful and cooperative with your lawyer as possible by
following the tips above.
Remember that your lawyer is being paid to do his or her best to
assist you in the defence of the claim - but that is not to say
that every case is able to be defended successfully. Your lawyer is
best placed to assess the merits of the claim and advise you.
Listen carefully to that advice. After all, you've paid for
This was an interlocutory decision about the appointment of a tutor for the child appellant, to carry on his proceedings.
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