Litigation - Do's and Don'ts

Local governments often find themselves in situations in which there are conflicts and in which there is a dispute with other parties. When this happens, tension between the parties can be high, stress levels amongst staff can rise, and situations have the possibility of escalating quickly and unexpectedly.

Many decisions that local governments need to make in these circumstances are situation-specific. Sometimes, the disputes are not complex, and resolution can be achieved quickly and effectively. Sometimes, the disputes can become difficult to manage and eventually end up in litigation. A local government may find itself on either side of a dispute as well – on the plaintiff side commencing legal proceedings, or on the defence side responding to allegations of wrongdoings from other parties.

In this paper, we outline some common scenarios and best practices to keep in mind when tackling disputes of all kinds. While this paper does not replace legal advice from a lawyer who has considered the circumstances surrounding the dispute, it serves as a useful starting point for local governments to avoid some common pitfalls when managing matters that might lead to litigation through the courts.

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