Dispute Resolution Lawyers

Unfortunately disputes are common and an inevitable feature of many commercial dealings and sometimes relations between people.

The lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight take great pride in their ability to resolve at least 75% of commercial disputes without the need for costly litigation.  We recognise that there are many different ways of resolving disputes and we work hard to find practical, creative and commercially advantageous solutions.

Our dispute resolution strategies generally include maintaining as much control as possible over the process of resolving the dispute and the settlement of the dispute.  There are various types of alternative dispute resolution, some of which allow the parties to maintain more control compared to litigation where the judge has control of the decision and outcome.

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

Alternative Dispute Resolution


The dispute resolution lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight are able to settle most disputes by negotiation.  We will listen to you and carefully develop a negotiating strategy that is best suited to your particular situation.  We will advise you of your legal rights prior to discussing and developing an effective negotiating strategy.  The method of negotiation may involve correspondence, providing offers of settlement or meetings which may include lawyers and clients.


Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution option where an independent mediator helps disputing parties settle their dispute among themselves.  This is achieved by the mediator facilitating discussion between the parties with the aim of achieving a mutually beneficial solution.  Mediation is confidential and mediators do not take sides or make decisions in relation to your dispute. It is entirely voluntary and a mediator can not make a binding decision.  Mediations normally involve the mediator and respective lawyers and their clients.


Conciliation is another alternative dispute resolution technique using an independent and impartial person called a conciliator.  Unlike a mediator a conciliator may play an advisory role on the content and resolution of the dispute.  Similar to mediation, it is voluntary, confidential and the conciliator can not make a binding decision.  Conciliations normally involve the conciliator and respective lawyers and their clients.


Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution technique which allows disputing parties to have their dispute decided by an independent, neutral decision maker, called an arbitrator.  In arbitration, the disputing parties put forward arguments and evidence that the arbitrator will assess and make a decision on.  The process is private and, subject to the parties agreement, can be confidential.  It is the most formal alternative to litigation.  The parties will often enter into an arbitration contract and subject to the terms of the contract the decision made by the arbitrator, called the award, is legally binding and enforceable.  Arbitration is often used in international trade contracts where litigation would be inconvenient and expensive.


Adjudication is a form of arbitration that is available pursuant to Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW) also known as SOPA for the prompt resolution of payment claims.  Both arbitration and adjudication typically involve representation by dispute resolution lawyers.

Expert Determination

Expert determination is suitable for technical disputes in which an independent expert is engaged. The expert is chosen on the basis of their qualifications or experience in the subject matter of the dispute.  The parties present their arguments and evidence to the expert who makes a determination.  Subject to any contract between the parties regarding the expert determination, the determination will be final and binding.  This technique is often used to resolve technical disputes such as design, construction and complicated financial disputes.  Typically expert determination includes the expert and respective lawyers and their clients.

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.


Litigation is the process of resolving disputes through a court system.  It is the most formal and expensive process of reaching a dispute resolution.  For this reason, throughout the process of litigation, the lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight remain committed to resolving your dispute as early as possible.  This will involve developing a strategy for litigation and will include tactics such as ongoing negotiation, making formal offers of compromise and interlocutory applications to court where appropriate.  Interlocutory applications are applications made during the proceedings to gain a tactical advantage.  Examples include applications for summary judgement or security for costs.

Basic Steps in Litigation

The basic steps in litigation involve the plaintiff’s lawyers drafting, filing and serving a statement of claim.  A statement of claim is the document which commences legal proceedings.  It is a concise document setting out the legal cause of action and the essential facts of the case.  Upon receiving the statement of claim, the defendant has 28 days to draft, file and serve a defence.  The court will then list a directions hearing at which a timetable will be set for the preparation for each parties evidence.  There may be orders for mediation and eventually a date for hearing.  The  dispute resolution lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight settle the vast majority of cases prior to a hearing.  In the event that the matter goes to hearing, the judge will make a binding decision.

BSM Lawyers and Litigation

The dispute lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight have experience in all courts including Local, Coroners, District, Supreme and Federal Courts and various tribunals including the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).  We have the experience to advocate for you in court to save you the additional expense of a barrister.  Our lawyers take pride in both the meticulous and considered preparation for court and their ability to effectively and persuasively advocate for your rights whilst representing you in court.  However, in more complex matters we have a panel of expert barristers who we frequently engage.

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

Your Dispute Resolution Legal Team

Mark Smith


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William Onishi

Senior Associate

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Sam Bailey

Senior Associate

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Rania Kassir

Senior Lawyer

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Kyle Dmoch


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Curtis Newbitt-Hill

Law Graduate

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