Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Cost, risk, legal practitioners and ‘personal crusades’ – Empirical research on why commercial litigants settle their disputes

Rapana, Jessica (2021) Cost, risk, legal practitioners and ‘personal crusades’ – Empirical research on why commercial litigants settle their disputes. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

PDF - Whole Thesis
Download (603kB) | Preview


This thesis will explore the primary factors which drive litigants to settle their commercial legal disputes, within the bounds of Western Australia. This thesis will broadly examine the existing literature on settlement and litigation, then compare and contrast this against empirical research carried out by the author to determine why litigants settle, and what factors they take into consideration when settling. This is important because in WA, the vast majority of civil disputes are resolved using alternative methods of dispute resolution. Very often, this will result in a private settlement agreement between the parties ending the dispute.

A key reason for settlement is that commercial litigation is a complex and complicated process for most litigants. It requires significant time, energy and resources to undertake. Because litigants are frequently presented with different choices, possibilities and risk throughout their dispute, it can be difficult for them to know what decisions to make in order to maximise their outcome. In addition to this, they will have varying priorities, aims and expectations which will shape their decision-making processes. This research, then, asks lawyers about what factors have an impact on their clients’ decisions. Ultimately, the overarching categories of factors which litigants consider when settling include: cost, risk, various roles of legal practitioners and emotional drivers.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Law and Criminology
Supervisor(s): Dent, Chris
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year