High Conflict People in Legal Disputes

High Conflict People in Legal Disputes


Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.

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People blame others more now than ever, and we're becoming more of a litigious society than ever. 

People with high conflict personalities (HCPs) clog our courts as plaintiffs with inappropriate claims against their personal "targets of blame," and as defendants who have harmed others and need to be stopped. Everybody knows someone with a High Conflict Personality. "How can he be so unreasonable?" "Why does she keep fighting? Can't she see how destructive she is?" "Can you believe they're going to court over ______?"

Some HCPs are more difficult than others, but they tend to share a similar preoccupation with blame that drives them into one dispute after another—and keeps everyone perplexed about how to deal with them.

Using case examples and an analysis of the general litigation and negotiation behaviors of HCPs, this book helps make sense of the fears that drive people to file lawsuits and complaints. It provides insight for containing their behavior while managing and/or resolving their disputes. Characteristics of the five "high-conflict" personality disorders are explored:

  • Borderline
  • Narcissistic
  • Histrionic
  • Paranoid
  • Antisocial

What's New in This Edition

  • Updates from the 2013 release of the revised DSM-5
  • New chapter on Paranoid Personality Disorder
  • New chapter on Presenting Your Case
  • Research on the prevalence of personality disorders
  • New case examples

Book Details

Binding: paperback
Publisher: Unhooked Books
Publication date:  2016
Pages:  277
ISBN (print): 978-1-936268-15-3
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-936268-75-7


Bill Eddy is a lawyer, therapist, mediator, and President of the High Conflict Institute. He developed the "High Conflict Personality" theory and is an international expert on the subject. He is a Certified Family Law Specialist and Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center. He has taught at the University of San Diego School of Law, is on the part-time faculty of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law and the National Judicial College, and lectures at Monash University in Australia.

Praise for High Conflict People in Legal Disputes 2e

“Bill Eddy’s gift is analyzing difficult problems and providing a road map of clear comprehensive solutions. In this second edition of High Conflict People in Legal Disputes he shares even more of his outstanding analysis, including new research, new cases, and new diagnostic formulations based on the DSM-5. Through the legal case examples we have a deeper understanding of how high conflict personalities can drive, disrupt and derail a case. Judges, mediators, attorneys and mental health professionals will find the twenty skills incredibly useful whether this is a first introduction to this book or an update. I highly recommend it to anyone involved in family law.”
—Robin M. Deutsch, PhD, ABPP
Director, Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law
William James College

“High Conflict People in Legal Disputes is very helpful, useful and popular resource for law students and practicing lawyers, mediators, judges and other dispute resolvers in Australia. I thoroughly recommend it.”
—Prof Tania Sourdin, Dean, University of Newcastle, Australia
Tania Sourdin, Alternative Dispute Resolution, (2016) 5th Ed, Thomson Reuters

"This book and Bill Eddy’s class have literally changed my ADR work and life. As a journalism mediator in Korea, I had focused on the legal system and culture for promoting and practicing dispute resolution. Now I emphasize on the personality sector and make full use of its analysis and responses written in this book. If you apply legal knowledge only to disputes, this book will give you a lot of strength and confidence when you deal with difficult people."
—Shawn Jang, mediator and branch manager, Press Arbitration Commission, Korea

The CARS Method®, BIFF Response®, New Ways for Families®, New Ways for Work℠, New Ways for Mediation℠ and EAR Statement℠ are trademarks or service marks of William A. Eddy d/b/a High Conflict Institute. All rights reserved.

CoParenting Course Online

Developed by Bill Eddy, High Conflict Institute

saves the court time and resources
reduces court appearances
protects children as the family reorganizes


immunize families from becoming high conflict
reduce existing conflict in cases already identified as "high conflict"
increase child's well-being
encourage settlement instead of litigation
effective client engagement & client management