This depends on a large number of factors, but broadly how complex the matter is and how much work will be required. We do not charge based on how long a matter takes to resolve, but on how much work it takes to resolve it.
Clearly, achieving an early settlement means that less work is required than going all the way to a defended trial and taking all of the steps necessary to get there. However, sometimes it is necessary to take certain steps before a settlement can be achieved.
Two particularly important stages of litigation are disclosure, when the parties formally exchange documentation about the claim, and exchange of witness statements, when the parties set out the detail of the facts of the case.
However, it does take time to reach these stages and deal with them properly, which is why the Court expects a party, to a lesser extent, undertake these steps before issuing a claim, as it can lead to settlement once each party can consider the evidence and basis of the claim.