Regrettably, at some point most businesses will find themselves in dispute or facing litigation. The most common types of dispute involves non-payment by a customer, breach
of contract or a claim by a former employee. Resolving disputes is costly for your business in both loss of valuable time and monetary terms.
Your first move
The first communication when dealing with a potential business dispute very often is the most important. It may be that it can be settled amicably by way of negotiation without needing to get any lawyers involved. Commercially, this is in most cases the best way but, of course, there are occasions where this will just not be possible.
To decide whether to make or defend a claim it is crucial to assess the strength of your case. This is done by looking at the factual background to the dispute, reviewing any documentation, for example, any contracts or legal documentation, and then finally looking at the legal position. An informed decision can then be made as to the best way to minimise the impact of the dispute.
One of the most important questions that a business dispute lawyer should ask the client when contemplating possible court action is what the ideal outcome would be? For example, would you accept less than the full amount owed to reach an early settlement? If yes, you could then put forward a without prejudice offer to the other side.
Is the other side’s financial position and whether they have the means to pay?
If the dispute is purely financial in nature and you have a strong case then legal action may seem the most obvious answer. However, you need to assess whether the defendant has the means to pay even if you get a judgement in favour of your business. If the company you have been dealing with is about to be wound up then you could end up more out of pocket if you can’t recover the amount outstanding plus legal costs.
The costs issue
Its important to balance the costs of bringing a claim to court against the amount you stand to get if you win. If the claim is for a relatively low amount then legal costs could be greater than the amount in dispute. Sometimes the issue is a matter of principle and the costs are irrelevant.
The usual rule in litigation is that the losing party has to pay both sides costs, however the client must be aware you won’t get 100% of your legal costs in most circumstances.
Finally, before considering court action it is worth exploring whether an alternative method of dispute resolution is appropriate such as mediation, which could possibly be more successful and cost-effective with less risk than going before a judge. Remember also that most cases are settled before trial so issuing court proceedings can be a good tactic to get your opponent to take the claim seriously.
We offer a fixed fee service so that clients can access their situation before taking further steps. A business dispute lawyer from our commercial law team will obtain details from you of the factual background to the case, review any relevant documents, give initial advice on the legal position and tell you the next steps to resolve the dispute. Please contact us if you would like further details of this fixed fee assessment service.
Our disputes team can offer advice on
Our litigation lawyers understand that most clients, whether commercial or private, would prefer to resolve any dispute without resorting to litigation and at minimum expense. Our fees are highly competitive.
If you would like further information please contact a member of our Disputes or Class Action team then please: Email: Reception@leonkaye.co.uk Telephone: Chelsea Office: 020 7228 2020 or Knightsbridge Office: 020 7095 0930.