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New scheme offers faster, cheaper way to resolve disputes without turning to courts

Published on May 10, 2014 8:50 AM

A new scheme that aims to help people resolve their disputes in a faster, cheaper and more amicable way was launched yesterday, in what is to be an "intermediate step" between self-help and starting court proceedings.

Instead of representing themselves, litigants unable to afford legal fees or qualify for legal aid can now tap the Primary Justice Project, which gives them a chance to come to terms at an early stage - and avoid entering the court system altogether.

It entails engaging, for up to six hours at $1,900 that includes an administrative fee, a lawyer who will give basic advice and facilitate settlement negotiations.

The first hour, a consultation, will focus on exploring options to resolve the dispute. Parties can then undergo negotiation and mediation sessions with the other side if they choose to continue.

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