Dispute resolution includes all processes to have a legal conflict solved, including extrajudicial negotiations and court proceedings. We offer assistance with all types of dispute resolution within private, commercial and business areas.
Most private individuals are in contact with lawyers 1 or 2 times in a lifetime, mostly in connection with divorce settlements, trust and estate settlements, work related disputes or property disputes. For businesses, it may be quite different; many companies gain their own experience with the judicial system through its operations.
Whether you’re a private individuals or you represent a company, a foundation, co-operative or other form of legal entity; we can assist you with the whole specter from extrajudicial negotiations, to court mediation, the execution of a meeting in “Forliksrådet” (the Conciliation Board), specialized complaint boards or court proceedings.
The solution and chosen strategy is obtained through a cooperation between the client and us. What does the client want and what can be achieved? If the goal is realistic, all resources are allocated to achieving that goal precisely. Should the goal be unrealistic, our duty is to inform you as a client of this and suggest what may be the next best solution and how it can be most effectively obtained.
The vast majority contact lawyers too late in a judicial process. They often wholeheartedly try to solve the matter on their own and failing that, they contact a lawyer. Unfortunately, many private persons sadly have the impression that most lawyers are costly quarrelers who are more concerned with the size of their wallets rather than aiming for a quick solution. That does not have to be the case. In Hansson, we are primarily concerned with reaching the best and right solution for you, and we aim for the fastest way to get there. Although efficiency is key, the solution has the most focus, because it is the solution you will live with when the case is closed.
Often the case is solved through extrajudicial negotiations; meaning negotiations between the parties without the justice system being involved. Some can manage this on their own, but in cases with large complexity or large amounts of money, we often see that the parties more often than not ultimately contact a lawyer. At that time in the process the willingness to find a commonly benefiting solution is often strained, and a big part of the lawyer’s work is to soften the parties and make them set on achieving an agreement. Often we also see that the cases have sides invisible to the client.
The earlier the lawyers enter the field, the sooner can the different possibilities be identified and work can be initiated to achieve them. This does not only apply when there is a possible disagreement, but just as much for those who wish to plan for the future, where the intention might be precisely to avoid a dispute – for instance in estate planning.
If we spot a good chance for an extrajudicial solution, we will generally suggest trying attorney-led negotiations before initiating a full court trial. Even if it often entails that you as a client have to waive a portion of what you feel entitled to, it can save both time and money.
Court mediation is an offer from the courts during court proceedings. The mediation is directed by a judge, in this instance performing as a mediator and not a judge. He or she will not make a ruling in the matter, but will actively mediate between the parties to see if an agreement can be reached. Court mediation is mostly used as a first step in a court case, resulting in a trial if the mediation is unsuccessful. During mediation the parties will meet at the court house with their respective attorneys with the judge present. First, each side outlines their view on the matter, then each party with its attorney go to separate rooms and the mediator goes back and forth and mediates. In many cases, this is an effective form for dispute resolution, sometimes not. We will always consider if court mediation is an option and consult the client. If you as our client wish to try court mediation, we assist with the entire process from assessments in advance to execution of the mediation and signing of the court settlement agreement – which has the same judicata effect as a court judgment.
Forliksrådet (The Conciliation Board)
Forliksrådet is a low-threshold offer for parties with uncomplicated claims below NOK 125,000. The procedure is simplified and cost effective compared to the ordinary court proceedings. If you have a claim under NOK 125,000 and want a speedy and cheap solution, then Forliksrådet might be the right way to go. In general, it takes about half the time to go through Forliksrådet than the ordinary district courts. On the other hand, you will not have a right to full compensation for legal costs.
For many clients it may be uncomfortable to confront the one you are disputing with and it may feel secure to have an attorney present who can manage the “tough” negotiations and ensure that everything is being handled correctly. If your matter is fairly uncomplicated and you are mostly concerned with assistance in Forliksrådet, then this form of dispute resolution might be fitting. If the case on the other hand is more complicated or it is realistic that an outcome from Forliksrådet will be appealed, then we will rather suggest going straight to the district court for a full trial. A final solution will be more time and cost effective.
Court proceedings (small and ordinary claims)
If neither negotiations nor Forliksrådet is appropriate, or gives a proper solution, the case most likely have to be solved through a court trial, at first in the district court. We have long and wide experience with execution of trials, and we assist closely throughout the entire process. Either you wish to sue, or you have to defend against a suit, we assist you all the way through the written preparation period, execution of the oral hearings and even through appeal proceedings. Such proceedings may be demanding. Both for professionals and private individuals. We know that it may be daunting to face such a situation, without certain knowledge of the outcome. In such a situation, it’s important to have someone with high competence and experience on your team. Someone “in the trenches”, fighting alongside you. We fight hard for our clients and for us it’s important that the goal is achieved.
Enforced collection of claims
Do you have an enforceable judgment or an undisputed claim, but the money is still not coming in? Is ordinary collection unsuccessful? We can assist you with the enforced collection – most often distraint or foreclosure. Distraint normally takes up to 2 months from the request has reached the Enforcement Office and in many cases provides good chances for coverage with the debtor. Distraint can be placed in property, bank account deposits, wages, stocks and bonds or other assets. If the debtor owns property, one can request foreclosure following a distraint. Foreclosure takes about 4 months and is requested to the district court.
Specialized Complains Boards
Within certain legal areas there are specialized complaint boards making out an extra instance, for use in addition to the other and more general dispute resolution agencies. We offer assistance within several of these areas, including public tenders/ procurement, bank, collection, real estate brokerage and insurance.
All of these complaint boards have in common that they do not possess the same authority as Forliksrådet or the ordinary courts – these boards can only give advisory opinions. However, because the opinions are made by specialists within the field, many parties will adhere to the opinions as more binding than they actually are. Besides, a positive board opinion can sometimes cause a duty for the opposing party to cover full legal costs provided they do not adhere to the advisory opinion of the board. Such an opinion, even though it’s only formally advisory, is often respected by the ordinary courts and may therefore have value even if it’s unlikely that the matter will have its final solution within the board.