Business owners have a lot to juggle and being faced with a dispute can be the added pressure that makes them drop the ball.

Nobody wants to have serious disagreements regarding their business, but from time-to-time, and as your business grows, you can find yourself facing issues that are not straightforward to resolve yourself.

Commercial disputes cover a broad range of issues, including;

  • Breach of contact
  • Commercial landlord and tenant disputes
  • Disputes with suppliers, contractors or professional advisors
  • Disputes with clients about goods or services provided
  • Disputes between shareholders, partners or directors
  • Late payment disputes

Regardless of the issue at hand, many business owners will want to avoid going to court if they can.

Needing to attend court can bring additional pressure and anxiety to an already stressful situation. Even a result in the company’s favour can cost in time, money and energy and could bring about some negative publicity.

There is also a concern when a business owner wants to remain amicable or needs to continue working with the other party, that taking the matter to court will be too damaging.

How Can a Solicitor Help Resolve Your Dispute

  • A Solicitor who specialises in can provide you with clear and pragmatic advice on your dispute, helping you to understand the law, the procedures, risks vs rewards, likely costs and the available options to help you decide how best to resolve the issue.
  • A Solicitor can prepare letters before action to the other party to formally put your case forward and to best position you for a favourable resolution.
  • Whilst ensuring your case is always put in the strongest and legally correct terms, they can steer the dispute towards alternatives to court      (known as alternative dispute resolution or ‘ADR’) for example by proposing options such as mediation     .
  • They can negotiate out of court settlements by liaising with the other party.
  • If the dispute can’t be resolved out of court, they can represent you all the way and take matters to court or represent you in court if required.
  • Even after court action is started, they can continue to negotiate and explore ways to resolve the dispute – the vast majority of cases settle before they get to trial.

Keeping Your Dispute Out of Court

Seeking legal advice early can help you to avoid making any errors in the way that you handle the issue. Having the right advice will put you in the best position to fight your dispute in a strong and legally correct way, while also finding the most pragmatic way to reach the best outcome.

Communications between parties early on in a dispute are often referred to or relied on later in court.  An important role of a solicitor is to ensure that what you say to the other party is legally correct and does not undermine your case later on.

Ensure that you have kept detailed records of any contracts, agreements, invoices and conversations.  They could be important to prove your case.

Be prepared to be patient, flexible and open minded about reaching a resolution.

Make use of the alternative methods to reach an agreement so that attending court is only a last resort.

When to Instruct a Solicitor

There are various red flags when faced with an issue that may indicate that it is time to instruct a solicitor that specialises in dispute resolution.

  1. The issue is dragging on and your communications are going nowhere
  2. The other party is unresponsive or refusing to co-operate
  3. The other party is threatening legal action
  4. You receive notification of legal action
  5. You are rapidly losing money, time or resources
  6. The dispute is affecting your mental health
  7. The dispute is impacting your staff
  8. The dispute involves complex legal issues or you feel out of control
  9. There is a risk of reputational damage
  10. You are concerned about handling the issue correctly

If any of these are occurring, that is a strong signal that it would be sensible to seek advice from a professional. They can then guide you on the next steps to take and the best approach to find a solution. This doesn’t automatically mean you have to go to court!

Get in Touch

Downie & Gadban have a team of highly experienced Solicitors, specialising in dispute resolution. They have an excellent track record of finding solutions and reaching favourable outcomes for their business clients, allowing them to move on from difficult, ongoing battles and re-focus on running their businesses.

For more information about how we work, or to discuss a current dispute you are trying to navigate, please contact Robert Small at [email protected] or 01420 81275 or Mark Robertson at [email protected] or 01420 81270.

The contents of this blog are for general awareness purposes and do not purport to legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this blog was published. Readers should not act on the basis of information shared within this, or any other blog, but should seek appropriate, professional advice on their own circumstances.