Hearings before a judge are very different to mediations. At a hearing you virtually have no say. You would already have filed your affidavit evidence into court and the only role you play as a claimant or a defendant in the proceedings is as a witness. You go into the witness box to be cross-examined by your opposition barrister. Thereafter you just sit around listening the judge and barristers only hearing half of what is being said and understanding very little. The process is almost completely out of your control.

The judges’ determination is usually delayed for a month or more although some judges will give their decision in some cases on the day itself. After receiving the courts decision either party is entitled to appeal and the appeal process usually takes about another 12 months and lawyer’s costs are about as much as the hearing itself.

On appeal the Appeal Court does not hear the evidence again. It is not a re-trial or re-hearing. The barrister’s simply argue before the appeal judges their view of the law in respect of the appeal. Usually the loser pays the legal costs however the court has discretion to make any number of different orders. Hearings and Appeals are for the very brave. It’s very much like going into a casino because in this area of the law even the judges agree that each judge will have a different opinion.

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