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Adrian Corbould: You don’t want to go to court, then don’t. I’m Adrian Corbould Accredited Specialist in Wills & Estates at Turnbull Hill Lawyers with the Battle of Wills series where I talk about contested Wills. I get calls every single day by executors and prospective claimants regarding contested estates. One of their main worries is, “I don’t want to go to court,” and that is completely understandable.

Court is a very stressful place. You’ve got the judge, the associate, there’s the judge’s assistant, the tipstaff, the stenographer, the court officer, barristers, solicitors, members of the public.

All attention is shone on the witness when they’re giving evidence. There’s also the prospect of the judgment becoming public. There’s costs consequences, a lot of problems. I understand that and I’ve got to tell you, I don’t want the case to go to court either. Why is that? Because it’s in the best interest of everyone if the parties can resolve the matters between them and the courts know this. For example, there’s about 1000 cases filed in New South Wales every year. That’s about three every calendar day.

Every business day it might be about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, there might be five a day. The court does not have the resources to determine all these cases.

What happens? The judges who run these matters are constantly at the parties to encourage them to resolve it themselves and I’ve got to say the vast majority of claims and defended matters do resolve. Why is that? They have compulsory mediation where the parties get together and try and resolve it.

The judges who run these cases, are constantly at the parties saying, “What have you done to resolve this matter?” I say that court is the absolute last door absolute last chance of any contested estate matter. Of those 1000 cases, they’ll probably be about 30 to 40 that actually get a judgment handed down from the judge. That’s what? 3% to 4%. That means 97% to 96% of matters resolve between the parties before a judgment is delivered.

Of course, there is always possibility a matter will be you will end up in the courtroom but it is open to settle at any time from the date of starting it, up until the morning of the court case, the morning tea break, the lunch break, at the end of the first day. A matter can settle at any time up until the point where a judge actually gives the decision. I hope that’s been of some interest to you. Look forward to talking again next time.

Turnbull Hill Lawyers, and specifically Adrian Corbould and Mary Windeyer, have been named in the prestigious 2022 Doyles Guide. Both were also listed in the 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018 guides.

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