Stages in commercial litigation

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This article provides a general overview of the stages in commercial litigation. If you have a dispute, we recommend you contact Grondal Bruining for advice specific to your situation, as early as possible.

Stages in commercial litigation

  1. The Decision to Litigate
  2. Commencing or Defending Proceedings
  3. Appearance and Pleadings
  4. Directions Hearings and Strategic Conference
  5. Discovery
  6. Interlocutory Applications
  7. Mediation
  8. Evidence
  9. Preparing for Trial
  10. Trial
  11. Judgement
  12. Steps following Judgement
  13. Appeals

The word ‘litigation’ means the conduct of legal proceedings before a court.

The word ‘litigation’ means the conduct of legal proceedings before a court.

Litigation is a difficult and time-consuming process, which is often required where the parties have not been able to reach a resolution of their dispute through other processes. 

If it becomes necessary to escalate a dispute to court action, the litigation process should be approached in a way that best achieves your strategic objectives and is most likely to optimise the prospects of a successful outcome.

The steps outlined are a high level overview and we recommend that you contact us for advice. Obtain our additional useful resources listed at the end of this short article to provide a better understanding of the litigation process where we explain the steps in more detail, prior to pursuing this course of action.

Depending on the complexity of the litigation and the approach of parties, litigation generally takes at least a year to resolve and often much longer.

There are alternatives to litigation which may assist you to obtain your desired outcome or otherwise resolve the dispute on acceptable, albeit compromised, terms.

Commercial contracts often mandate that the parties have recourse to such alternatives before either may commence court action.

Even if there is no mandatory dispute resolution procedure, the parties may still agree to participate in private negotiations or a mediation, or refer the dispute to an arbitrator or expert for determination.

If court proceedings are commenced, the court will at some stage of the proceedings (after the close of pleadings and often after discovery) order that the parties participate in a court based mediation before a Registrar or a Judge.

Your solicitor can assist you to prepare and manage your case, however there are ways you can prepare in order to manage the litigation process more smoothly. We recommend you engage a solicitor early on. In addition to providing you with advice on your potential claim and how to handle it to your best strategic advantage, involving your solicitor in communications with third parties relating to the claim may help to avoid pitfalls associated with such communications which may, despite best intentions, prove detrimental to your case.


Grondal Bruining “A guide to Commercial Litigation”. Download Here: Grondal Bruining Guide to Commercial Litigation.

Ask us for a copy of these resources:

Grondal Bruining guide to “Legal Professional Privilege”.

Grondal Bruining guide to “Discovery”.

Grondal Bruining guide to “Legal Costs”.


Dean Grondal, Principal – Grondal Bruining


P> +61 8 6500 4300


Grondal Bruining is a commercial law and litigation firm with a team of highly experienced, respected lawyers providing specialist advice on significant commercial and corporate matters.

Grondal Bruining has been recognised in Doyles Guide as a Leading Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution Firm in Western Australia.

The litigation and dispute resolution team is led by Dean Grondal, who has been recognised in Best Lawyers in Australia in the fields of Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution, Natural Resources Law, Construction / Infrastructure Law and Corporate Law and also in Doyles Guide as a leading Resources, Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution lawyer in Western Australia.

We provide expert advice and appear in civil litigation in the superior courts of Western Australia, mediations and specialised dispute resolution procedures. We deal with all types of civil litigation, in particular matters concerning complex contractual and commercial disputes, mining and energy disputes, construction and security of payment actions, property and financial disputes and judicial review proceedings.

The Grondal Bruining team is passionate about delivering top tier work within a boutique model: that means responsiveness, agility, cost efficiency and commerciality. We take a pragmatic approach and pride ourselves on achieving strategically focussed outcomes.

Grondal Bruining has grown a reputation for being personal, proactive and professional delivering the highest quality outcomes.

The material in this article is provided only for general information. It does not constitute legal or other advice. 

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