A settlement hearing is a modern concept. A settlement hearing involves the parties appearing in a court room type setting before a legal expert acting as a judge (see note below). The judge will then give an early indication as to his/her views on the merits of the case on a non-binding basis.
The parties engage in discussions both prior to attendance before the judge, and afterwards. The parties continue to negotiate throughout the day or half day whilst the judge remains available, to either offer further non-binding guidance, or to assist in concluding a final agreement, if invited to do so.
A settlement hearing enables parties to appreciate the possible outcomes of the final court or Legal Property Solutions hearing without the risks of becoming bound by a final decision and whilst retaining the ability to settle on a basis which may not be available in traditional court proceedings.
Note: The word “judge” is used to describe the lawyer deciding the case. Although a number of our legal experts are also appointed to sit as judges by the Courts, he or she will be acting independently from this role.